Luca Lo Verde, David Alais , David Charles Burr, Maria Concetta Morrone , Hamish MacDougall, Frans A. J. Verstraten
Recalibrating time perception to self-motion
Moving visual stimuli are perceived to last longer than stationary stimuli of the same physical duration. However, it is not clear how stimulus motion and self-motion contribute to this effect, nor is the role of motor action. We used virtual reality to investigate time perception for observers who could actively walk inside a virtual room while performing a temporal reproduction task. Participants were either stationary or walking briskly (at 0.8 m/s), while the environment could either be stationary on the retina, stationary in the real-world or double velocity in the world. For stationary observers, we observed the temporal dilation for moving compared with stationary stimuli, as previously described. However, there was no temporal dilation for walking participants, with either retinal-stationary (moving in the world) or real-world stationary stimuli (moving on the retina). Only for double-speed motion was there a temporal dilation for walking observers. The results suggest that our sensory systems are able to discount self-generated motion in order to perceive veridically genuine external motion, improving the perception of real moving objects while navigating the environment.