Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 115–124 | Cite as

Time perception and attention: The effects of prospective versus retrospective paradigms and task demands on perceived duration

  • Scott W. Brown


This research was designed to compare time judgments obtained under prospective conditions (in which subjects are instructed to attend to time) and retrospective conditions (in which subjects are unaware that they will be required to judge time). In Experiment 1, subjects prospectively or retrospectively judged the duration of intervals spent performing a perceptual-motor task at different levels of difficulty. The results showed that subjects tested under both research paradigms tended to give increasingly shorter and/or more inaccurate time judgments with increases in nontemporal task demands. Experiment 2 was designed to test the effects of attentional deployment on perceived time by comparing prospective and retrospective judgments under control, selective attention, and divided attention conditions. Both types of time judgments became increasingly inaccurate as attention was more broadly deployed. The results of these experiments are consistent with an attentional allocation model, and they suggest that nontemporal task demands disrupt or interfere with timing in both prospective and retrospective situations.


Word Pair Task Condition Verbal Estimation Ratio Score Time Judgment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott W. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MaineOrono

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