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Title: Temporal binding in causal and non-causal event sequences
Author: Humphreys, Gruffydd R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 2751
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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The malleability of our subjective perception of time has recently received a great amount of empirical attention with respect to the Temporal Binding of intentional actions to their subsequent effects (e.g. Haggard, Clark & Kalogeras, 2002). Given the number of studies utilizing the venerable Libet clock method, this thesis presents several novel methods for the investigation of the Temporal Binding phenomenon. Firstly, five experiments requiring the numerical estimation of intervals between operant action and subsequent effect, as well as intervals between superficially identical (based on stimulus properties) observed sequences showed that participants judged operant intervals to be shorter than relative observed intervals. This effect existed at intervals far longer than those previously reported (Haggard et al., 2002), whilst demonstrating a pattern of results similar to previous studies involving hypothesized changes of internal clock speeds (e.g. Penton-Voak, Edwards, Percival, & Wearden, 1996). This shortening of the reported interval between cause and effect also occurred when numerical estimation was replaced with the reproduction of the inter-event interval. Having demonstrated a Temporal Binding effect with these novel methods, I then investigate the Causality based explanation of Eagleman & Holcombe (2002), employing keypress timings as an indicator of the perceived timing of the awareness of events. In three experiments, when both conditions involve intentional action, a Binding effect only occurs when this intentional action results in a caused effect. Having thus demonstrated that Causality is an essential pre-requisite of Temporal Binding, two experiments involving the judgment of the length of an object between two classic Michottean launching stimuli show shorter reported lengths for causally related (instantaneous launch) relative to unrelated (delayed launch) trials. I therefore argue that Binding is an online process that influences our perception of the relationship between causal action and effect in both temporal and spatial domains.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available