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Voluntary action and tactile sensory feedback in the intentional binding effect


The intentional binding effect refers to a subjective compression over a temporal interval between the start point initialized by a voluntary action and the endpoint signaled by an external sensory (visual or audio) feedback. The present study aimed to explore the influence of tactile sensory feedback on this binding effect by comparing voluntary key-press actions with voluntary key-release actions. In experiment 1, each participant was instructed to report the perceived interval (in ms) between an action and the subsequent visual sensory feedback. In this task, either the action (key-press or key-release) was voluntarily performed by the participant or a kinematically identical movement was passively applied to the left index finger of the participant. In experiment 2, we explored whether the difference in the perception of time was affected by the direction of action. In experiment 3, we developed an apparatus in which two parallel laser beams were generated by a laser emission unit and detected by a laser receiver unit; this allowed the movement of the left index finger to be detected without it touching a keyboard (i.e., without any tactile sensory feedback). Convergent results from all of the experiments showed that the temporal binding effect was only observed when the action was both voluntary and involved physical contact with the key, suggesting that the combination of intention and tactile sensory feedback, as a form of top-down processing, likely distracted attention from temporal events and caused the different binding effects.

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This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (31400876 to K.Z.; 81371631 and 81422024 to L.W.), the Scientific Foundation of the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y4CX132005 to K.Z.), the Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KLMH2014ZG11 to K.Z.), the Beijing Nova Program (Z141110001814068 to L.W.), the Thousand Youth Talents Plan (Y4HX072006 to L.W.).

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Correspondence to Ke Zhao.

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Zhao, K., Hu, L., Qu, F. et al. Voluntary action and tactile sensory feedback in the intentional binding effect. Exp Brain Res 234, 2283–2292 (2016).

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