TEMPUS NON FUGIT? EFFECTS OF DEPRESSION, ATTENTION AND MEMORY ON TIME PERCEPTION

  • Diana E. Kornbrot
  • Rachel M. Msetfi
  • Robin A. Murphy

Abstract

There is consistent evidence that depressive state affects time perception, although the relevant mechanisms are unclear. We used three paradigms to investigate such effects. The first uses production and verbal estimation of time in seconds, controversial in other studies. There were no significant depression effects for psychophysical functions. The second uses operant learning, an innovation for humans. Depressed participants gave longer estimates than non depressed participants for intervals preceding a change in external contingencies. The third uses a modified staircase to find 75% discrimination thresholds for shorter (50ms) and longer (1000ms) intervals. Depressed people have worse discrimination for longer intervals only. These results suggest that neither long term memory for times in seconds nor internal clock speed are implicated in mood effects in time perception. Mood differences are more likely to be due to attention paid to external stimuli and contexts

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