Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 185, Issue 4, pp 623–633 | Cite as

Effect of tactile stimulus frequency on time perception: the role of working memory

  • Mohammad Ali KhoshnoodiEmail author
  • Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi
  • Mohsen Omrani
  • Mathew E. Diamond
  • Abdol Hossein Abbassian
Research Article


In most models of interval timing, there is a central clock, which is considered to be highly protected from the effects of external stimuli. However, many studies have reported such effects and different theories are proposed to explain the observations. These include the effect of arousal, attention sharing, memory load and information processing on central clock as well as change in the speed of the pacemaker. In this study, we used regular vibro-tactile stimuli with different frequencies in a “duration reproduction task” to investigate the effect of stimulus content on interval timing. Results showed that subjects overestimated the duration as a function of test stimulus frequency. A significant correlation between increasing the test frequency and overestimation of subjective time was observed. We further investigated the effect of blank and filled gaps with various durations on time estimation. Analysis revealed that regardless of gap duration, subjective time increased in the filled gap condition, compared to the blank gap. This effect was independent from contextual stimuli and correlated to the mean number of stimuli during the temporal interval rather than rate of stimulus presentation.


Time perception Stimulus content Central clock Gap Working memory 



We are grateful to R. Kiani, S. R. Afraz , A. Zandvakili, I. Kurtzer and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive review on this manuscript. We would also like to thank B. Babadi for his helpful comments and helps on the model. The authors would especially thank Prof. R. Ivry for his insightful comments on this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Ali Khoshnoodi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi
    • 1
  • Mohsen Omrani
    • 1
  • Mathew E. Diamond
    • 2
  • Abdol Hossein Abbassian
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Cognitive SciencesInstitute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (IPM)TehranIran
  2. 2.Cognitive Neuroscience SectorInternational School for Advanced Studies (SISSA)TriesteItaly

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