The effect of scene structure on time perception


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The current experiments examined the hypothesis that scene structure affects time perception. In three experiments, participants judged the duration of realistic scenes that were presented in a normal or jumbled (i.e., incoherent) format. Experiment 1 demonstrated that the subjective duration of normal scenes was greater than subjective duration of jumbled scenes. In Experiment 2, gridlines were added to both normal and jumbled scenes to control for the number of line terminators, and scene structure had no effect. In Experiment 3, participants performed a secondary task that required paying attention to scene structure, and scene structure's effect on duration judgments reemerged. These findings are consistent with the idea that perceived duration can depend on visual–cognitive processing, which in turn depends on both the nature of the stimulus and the goals of the observer.