A Directional Congruency Effect of Amplified Dilated Time Perception Induced by Looming Stimuli With Implied Motion Cues

Joohee Seo, Euisun Kim, Sung Ho Kim

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The perception of time is not veridical, but, rather, it is susceptible to environmental context, like the intrinsic dynamics of moving stimuli. The direction of motion has been reported to affect time perception such that movement of objects toward an observer (i.e., looming stimuli) is perceived as longer in duration than movement of objects away from the observer (i.e., receding stimuli). In the current study we investigated whether this looming/receding temporal asymmetry can be modulated by the direction of movement implied by static cues of images. Participants were presented with images of a running person, rendered from either the front or the back (i.e., representing movement toward or away from the observer). In Experiment 1, the size of the images was constant. In Experiment 2, the image sizes varied (i.e., increasing: looming; or decreasing: receding). In both experiments, participants performed a temporal bisection task by judging the duration of the image presentation as “short” or “long”. In Experiment 1, we found no influence of implied-motion direction in the participants’ duration perceptions. In Experiment 2, however, participants overestimated the duration of the looming, as compared to the receding image in relation to real motion. This finding replicated previous findings of the looming/receding asymmetry using naturalistic human-character stimuli. Further, in Experiment 2 we observed a directional congruency effect between real and implied motion; stimuli were perceived as lasting longer when the directions of real and implied motion were congruent versus when these directions were incongruent. Thus, looming (versus receding) movement, a perceptually salient stimulus, elicits differential temporal processing, and higher-order motion processing integrates signals of real and implied motion in time perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-604
Number of pages20
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • implied motion
  • looming/receding motion
  • temporal bisection task
  • time dilation
  • time perception


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