Differences in modal distortion in time perception due to working memory capacity: a response with a developmental study in children and adults

  • Sylvie Droit-Volet
  • Quentin Hallez
Original Article


This study tested the modality effect on time judgment in a bisection task in children and adults when auditory and visual stimuli were presented in the same session. Cognitive capacities of children and adults were assessed with different neuropsychological tests. The results showed a modality effect, with the auditory stimuli judged longer than the visual stimuli. However, this modality distortion in time judgment was higher in the younger children. Statistical analyses revealed that the size of this time distortion was directly related to individual working memory capacities.



The authors thank Sophie Biron (Psychology Master’s student co-directed by a PhD student, Pierre Zélanti) who collected a large proportion (73%) of the children’s data at school, the other children being recruited by Quentin Hallez (PhD student). We also thank Laétitia Bartomeuf (research assistant) who collected the adults’ data at the university. We are also grateful to the directors and the teachers of the Elsa Triolet nursery school at Vic-Le-Conte and the “Centre” primary school at Issoire.


This study was funded by H2020 European Research Council (BE) (TIMESTORM—H2020—FETPROACT-2014).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Sylvie Droit-Volet declares that she has no conflict of interest. Quentin Hallez declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This experiment was conducted in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration. All children were voluntary to participate in this study. The children’s parents, and the students signed written informed consent to participate in this study, which was approved by the ethical standards of the French research committee (academy) of the French National Education Ministry.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Clermont Auvergne, Laboratoire de psychologie sociale et cognitive, CNRS, UMR 6024Clermont-FerrandFrance

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