Temporal integration windows for naturalistic visual sequences

Scott L. Fairhall, Angela Albi, David Melcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is increasing evidence that the brain possesses mechanisms to integrate incoming sensory information as it unfolds over time-periods of 2-3 seconds. The ubiquity of this mechanism across modalities, tasks, perception and production has led to the proposal that it may underlie our experience of the subjective present. A critical test of this claim is that this phenomenon should be apparent in naturalistic visual experiences. We tested this using movie-clips as a surrogate for our day-to-day experience, temporally scrambling them to require (re-) integration within and beyond the hypothesized 2-3 second interval. Two independent experiments demonstrate a step-wise increase in the difficulty to follow stimuli at the hypothesized 2-3 second scrambling condition. Moreover, only this difference could not be accounted for by low-level visual properties. This provides the first evidence that this 2-3 second integration window extends to complex, naturalistic visual sequences more consistent with our experience of the subjective present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere102248
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 10 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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