Perceived duration is reduced by repetition but not by highlevel expectation

Ming Bo Cai, David M. Eagleman, Wei Ji Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A repeated stimulus is judged as briefer than a novel one. It has been suggested that this duration illusion is an example of a more general phenomenon-namely that a more expected stimulus is judged as briefer than a less expected one. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated high-level expectation through the probability of a stimulus sequence, through the regularity of the preceding stimuli in a sequence, or through whether a stimulus violates an overlearned sequence. We found that perceived duration is not reduced by these types of expectation. Repetition of stimuli, on the other hand, consistently reduces perceived duration across our experiments. In addition, the effect of stimulus repetition is constrained to the location of the repeated stimulus. Our findings suggest that estimates of subsecond duration are largely the result of low-level sensory processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2015


  • Expectation
  • Predictability
  • Time perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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