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Title: Temporal binding and internal clocks
Author: Fereday, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 8023
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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Temporal binding refers to the perceptual attraction of causally related events, which are perceived as closer together in time than unrelated events. This effect is not only characterised by the perceived attraction of cause and effect, but also by a contraction of the interval separating the events. Since the original article on temporal binding (Haggard, Clarke, & Kalogeras, 2002), research has identified the conditions necessary for the effect to occur. While predictability and contiguity are both necessary, it is causality and not intentional action that is the root of the effect (Buehner, 2012). Despite this fruitful work, little is known about how temporal binding is realised. Event perception approaches suggest that binding arises as a realignment of sensory streams. Time perception approaches, in contrast, suggest that binding arises due to a changes in temporal perception during the interval. Given the precedence for the latter approach in the literature (Humphreys & Buehner, 2009; Wenke & Haggard, 2009), I therefore applied an internal clock model of time perception to temporal binding. In Experiments 1 – 4 (Chapter 3), I explored whether binding is effected by the general slowing of a rate of an internal clock. Participants made verbal estimates of either an interval (in causal and noncausal conditions), or of an unrelated event embedded either before or during the interval. I hypothesised that changes in a general clock rate would both affect intervals and embedded events, such that events embedded during causal intervals would be judged as shorter than those embedded during noncausal intervals. The results revealed that causal trial intervals were judged as shorter than noncausal intervals, while no effect was found for embedded events. These results suggested that binding is effected by clock processes specific to cause-effect intervals. Experiments 5 - 8 (Chapter 4) examined whether binding might arise either due to changes 1 in a specific clock rate or to differential timing latencies. Using a temporal discrimination procedure, participants judged whether a variable duration interval was shorter or longer than a reference interval. The point of subjective equality (PSE) was computed for each reference duration, and then modelled using regression. The results revealed a significant binding effect, but more importantly, significant differences in regression slopes between causal and noncausal conditions in three out of four experiments. These results supported the hypothesis of a slower clock rate in temporal binding. In Experiments 9 - 10 (Chapter 5) I verified the results of Chapter 4 by examining discrimination thresholds between two causal and two noncausal intervals. In both experiments (Chapter 5), higher just-noticeable- difference (JND) thresholds were found in causal conditions, supporting the notion of a slower clock rate in cause-effect intervals. Taken together, the present body of work supports the notion that temporal binding is effected by a slower internal clock rate. Future experiments might investigate whether clock slowing in binding is driven by causality or predictability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology