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07-03-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2016

Psychological Research 2/2016

Time perception and the experience of agency

Psychological Research > Uitgave 2/2016
Carola Haering, Andrea Kiesel


In the current study, we investigate whether sense of agency over an effect coincides with the perceived time of the effect that occurs either at its usual time or earlier or later than usual. One group of participants usually perceived an action effect immediately after the action, another group delayed by 250 ms. In test blocks the effect stimulus was sometimes presented earlier or later than usual. Participants judged either the degree of experienced agency over the effect or whether the effect had appeared at its usual time, or earlier or later than usual. In both groups experienced agency and the perception of the effect’s time ‘as usual’ were highly correlated. To rule out that time judgments influenced sense of agency, we replicated the pattern of agency judgments in Experiment 2 in which participants only judged agency. Taken together, we demonstrated that agency and time judgments vary similarly across temporal deviations of effects irrespective of to which delay participants were adapted to. The high correlation of judgment types indicates that perceiving an effect at its usual time and sensing to have caused the effect are closely related. In contrast, physical temporal proximity of actions and effects has only a minor impact on experienced agency.

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