Motion illusions caused by paintings of Op Art distort the perception of time

  • Francisco Carlos Nather
  • Fernando Figueiredo Mecca
  • José Lino Oliveira Bueno


Figurative static images implying human body movements observed for different durations (2- 8 and 36 s) affected timing perception. This study examined whether images of static geometric shapes - juxtaposed lines causing visual motion illusions - would affect the perception of time. Undergraduate participants observed two optical paintings by Bridget Riley for 9 or 36 s seconds (G9 and G36 groups). The paintings implying different movements (2.0- and 6.0-point stimuli) were randomly presented. The prospective paradigm in the reproduction method to record the time estimations of the participants was used. Data analysis showed no time distortions in G9 group. In the G36 group the paintings were differently perceived: 2.0-point was estimated shorter than 6.0-point. Also, the exhibition time of the 2.0-point painting was underestimated, compared with the real time. These results show that optical illusion of movement in static images caused time distortions related to a long duration of exposure.

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