The effects of color on time perception – Blue stimuli are temporally overestimated

In a paper recently published in Scientific Reports, Sven Thönes, Christoph von Castell, Julia Iflinger, and Daniel Oberfeld investigated whether duration judgments depend on the color (hue) of stimuli to be judged.

As color represents a basic feature of visual stimuli in lab experiments as well as in every-day environments, potential effects of hue on our perception of time are important to be considered. In particular, the well-known effects of arousal on time perception suggest that arousing hues, such as red, induce an overestimation of duration.

In a two-interval duration-discrimination task, the authors investigated whether participants indeed overestimate the duration of red stimuli in comparison to blue stimuli, while controlling for differences in brightness (individual adjustments by means of flicker photometry) and saturation (colorimetric adjustment in terms of the CIELAB color space). The mean duration of the stimuli was 500 ms. Moreover, the participants’ affective reaction (arousal, valence, dominance) towards the color stimuli were measured by means of the Self Assessment Manikin Scales.

Interestingly, the results showed a significant overestimation of the duration of blue compared to red stimuli, even though the red stimuli were rated as being more arousing. The estimated point of subjective equality showed that blue and red stimuli were perceived to be of equal duration when the blue stimulus was in fact 60 ms (12%) shorter than the red stimulus.

These surprising results (high arousal related to temporal underestimation) question arousal to be the main driving factor in the context of color and time perception. Moreover, the precision (variability) of duration judgments, i.e., the duration difference limen, did not differ between red and blue stimuli, questioning also an explanation in terms of attentional processes. The authors propose that specific neurophysiological mechanisms of color processing might be the basis of the effect, which need to be investigated in more detail in future studies.

Importantly, in timing-related visual experiments, it needs to be considered that the hue of the stimuli can affect time perception.

Source article:

Thönes, S., von Castell, C., Iflinger, J., & Oberfeld, D. (2018). Color and time perception: Evidence for temporal overestimation of blue stimuli. Scientific Reports, 8(1688) doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-19892-z

–Dr. Sven Thones (

Linking sense of agency to perceived duration

Sense of agency (SoA) is an important feeling associated with voluntary actions, enabling one to experience that he/she is controlling the actions and through them the events in the external environment. Until now, only the distortion of time interval between the action and its consequence (i.e. intentional binding effect) was associated with SoA, but a recent study by Shu Imaizumi and Tomohisa Asai, published in Consciousness and Cognition showed that even perceived duration of consequence is linked with SoA.

To investigate this association, they measured the perceived duration (measure of subjective time) of visual display and the rating for amount of control (explicit measure of agency) as a function of temporal contiguity (between action and visual display) and identity of visual display (being participants own hand vs. someone else’s hand). In each trial, participant performed a complex hand gesture as depicted by the image on the screen. This hand gesture was recorded by the overhead camera and projected on the screen after variable delay. While participants performed this task, their hands were covered so the only visual feedback of their action was the one that they saw on the screen. Participants reported whether they perceived the duration of the displayed video feedback (3000ms) as “short” or “long”. They also reported whether they felt that they controlled the displayed hand, by providing a binary response as “totally agree” or “totally disagree”.

The agency was manipulated in two ways, one by changing the visual display (self vs. others) and second, by manipulating the action consequence delay (50ms, 250ms, 500ms, 1000ms or 1500ms). In half trials, participants saw recording of their own hand (self-condition) and in other half trials, they saw the prerecorded clips of other person hand movements performing similar action (other-condition). Orthogonally, the temporal contiguity between action and visual feedback (50ms, 250ms, 500ms, 1000ms or 1500ms) was also manipulated. Based on prior studies on SoA, it was expected that seeing visual feedback of one’s own hand should elicit stronger SoA compared to seeing someone else hand. Similarly, one should experience a stronger SoA for visual feedback displayed with short delay (50ms, 250ms, or 500ms) compared to longer delay (1000ms or 1500ms). They hypothesized that if SoA influences perceived duration then participants should report “long” judgment more often for conditions that are known to boost SoA.

Results revealed that when the visual feedback display consisted of participant’s own hand, they reported stronger SoA and perceived the duration as longer, for short action outcome delay (50ms, 250ms, or 500ms) and this effect become weaker as the delay become longer (1000ms and 1500ms). Furthermore, the above effect was not observed when display consisted of someone else hand, suggesting the possibility that SoA and perceived outcome duration might be linked. Another similar experiment, investigated the effect of participants own hand projected from first person perspective (upright) vs. second person perspective (inverted). Authors expected that inverted perspective would be treated as non-self and will not influence perceived duration, but surprisingly both inverted as well as upright perspective showed similar effect on perceived duration and agency, suggesting that independent of orientation the visual information regarding one’s own hand is processed in a similar manner.

In conclusion, this study provides evidence that SoA also affects perceived duration and participants perceives the outcome duration to be longer when they feel stronger SoA. However, this study is unclear about the exact mechanism that would explain the observed temporal expansion associated with SoA. Moreover, only single duration was used to evaluate changes in temporal perception. Another recent study published in Scientific Reports by Makwana and Srinivasan, also demonstrated similar temporal expansion associated with intentional action, which was sensitive to temporal contiguity and source of action (intention-based vs. stimulus-based). They demonstrated the intention induced temporal expansion, using multiple durations and paradigms (temporal bisection and magnitude estimation), In addition, they also investigated its underlying mechanism in terms of internal clock (most influential model of time perception), suggesting the role of switch dynamics and not the pacemaker speed, to be involved in such temporal expansion. Thus, these studies overall suggest that intention and intentional action, not only influence the time between the action and the outcome but may also influence other aspects of the outcome events such as its duration, and more studies are required to fully understand in what all ways our perception is distorted  by intentional action.



  1. Moore, J. W., & Obhi, S. S. (2012). Intentional binding and the sense of agency: a review. Consciousness and cognition21(1), 546-561.
  2. Makwana, M., & Srinivasan, N. (2017). Intended outcome expands in time. Scientific Reports, 7(6305) doi: 1038/s41598-017-05803-1


Source article:  Imaizumi, S., & Asai, T. (2017). My action lasts longer: Potential link between subjective time and agency during voluntary action. Consciousness and cognition, 51, 243-257.


—Mukesh Makwana (,

Doctoral student,

Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (CBCS), India.

TRF Newsletter – February 2018

Dear all,

We hope you had a fantastic start to the new year and are pleased to share TRF’s first newsletter of 2018 containing some exciting announcements!


1. TRF1 Conference Survey Results

2. TRF2 Announcement

3. TRF ECR Committee

4. TRF Timing Labs Database

5. TRF Timing Papers Alerts and Database


7. TRF Membership

8. TRF Blogs

9. TRF Mailing List

10. TRF Blogs

11. Blog your Conference

12. Contribute to TRF

13. Feedback for TRF



Thank you to everyone who joined us in Strasbourg for the 1st TRF Conference and shared your detailed feedback on TRF1 and suggestions for future TRF conferences!

We received > 100 responses and have summarized the weighted-average scores (out of 5) as below. We thank you all for making TRF1 a tremendous success!


How would you rate scientific program of TRF1? 4.58

How would you rate TRF1 on the diversity of timing topics? 4.40

How likely are you to recommend TRF Conferences to your colleagues? 4.72

Did you make any new potential scientific collaborations at TRF1? 32.3% YES, 48.4% MAYBE

How would you rate the quality of the Keynote talks? 4.40

How would you rate the quality of the Symposia? 4.42

How would you rate the quality of the Poster sessions? 4.19

How would you rate the quality of the Oral sessions? 4.32

How would you rate the quality of the Poster Blitz session? 3.88

How do you rate TRF1 with respect to open science and open access? 4.52


How would you rate TRF1 with respect to its overall organization? 4.66

How would you rate the abstract submission process? 4.61

How would you rate the registration process? 4.22

How do you rate the food and dining experience at the conference venue? 4.27

How would you rate the quality of the social events? 4.35

How was your experience of Strasbourg as the location of the conference? 4.84

How would you rate TRF1 on value for money? 4.55


How would you rate the quality of communications from the organizers before and during the conference? 4.62

How would you rate your experience of the TRF conference website? 4.43

How do you rate the quality of social media outreach before and during the conference? 4.28

How do you rate the quality of communications from TRF before and during the conference? 4.45

If you would like to catch up on the science presented at TRF1, see the following links –

TRF1 Proceedings –

The proceedings with all abstracts is available as a PDF here –

TRF Open Science Foundation –

TRF’s OSF site containing ~100 posters and talks presented at TRF1 –



We are very excited to share that the 2nd Timing Research Forum Conference will be held in October 2019 in Mexico!

TRF2 will be organized by Hugo Merchant and held at the Institute of Neurobiology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico at the Juriquilla Campus in Queretaro.

You can view a copy of the TRF2 presentation by Hugo Merchant here –

The precise dates and details of the Organizing Committee will be confirmed in due time.

We look forward to build upon the emphatic success of TRF1 and hope to see the timing community come together again in Mexico!



We are delighted to announce the formation of the TRF ECR Committee and welcome its first 10 members!

The TRF ECR Committee will contribute to a number of TRF’s core activities with an aim to support early career researchers and promote TRF’s mission.


PhD Candidate

McMaster University



PhD Candidate

Cardiff University



PhD Candidate

Columbia University



Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Bielefeld



Postdoctoral Researcher

Universidad Nacional de Quilmes



PhD Candidate

Ecole Normale Supérieure



PhD Candidate

Kochi University of Technology



PhD Candidate

University of Allahabad



Postdoctoral Researcher

Leibniz Research Center for Working Environments and Human Factors



Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Western Ontario




As one of their first initiatives, the TRF ECR Committee is building a database of labs that conduct timing research.

Apart from being an important community-building project, this information will be of use to researchers seeking collaborations,

students seeking PhD / Postdoc positions, as well as journal editors seeking relevant reviewers.

Please fill out this shared Google document similar to the example shown –

If you’re a PI and are currently hiring, please indicate YES/NO in the ‘Hiring’ column and add a link to the job advert accordingly.

And anytime you plan to hire new lab members in the future, you can update your status to YES. The ECR Committee will regularly

monitor the hiring status and share information about new jobs on TRF’s platforms like website, social media and newsletter.

The labs database will be published on the TRF website for easy access to the wider scientific community.

If you’ve any questions, please feel free to write to the TRF ECR Committee –



The TRF ECR Committee is pleased to announce another initiative to promote new timing publications (2018 onwards) by TRF members.

Please let us know any time you’ve a new timing paper published by –

1) Updating details of your paper in this shared Google document (similar to the example publication) –

2) Tagging TRF (@timingforum) on Twitter if you’d like us to RT on Twitter and share on other social networks

3) Sending us a lay summary (up to 1000 words with one figure) that will be published on TRF’s blog

All new publications shared with us will feature in the TRF Newsletter and published on the TRF website on a monthly basis.

If you’ve any questions, please feel free to contact the TRF ECR Committee –



Please see the following ad for tenure-track position –

Applications are invited for a tenure-track researcher position in the Cognition and Brain Dynamics research team of Virginie van Wassenhove.

The lab is hosted at NeuroSpin (Dir. Prof Stanislas Dehaene) on the plateau de Saclay near Paris, France.


Full description here:


Virginie van Wassenhove



To become a member of TRF and join a community of > 650 timing researchers, please fill in the form here –

TRF has an active online presence with > 1100 followers on several social networks –

ResearchGate: 361 followers

Twitter:  425 followers

Facebook: 420 followers (+9%)



We look forward to sharing new blogs about recently published papers and also welcome any blog articles about your experience at TRF1.

If you would like to regularly contribute as a TRF blogger, please get in touch:



Everyone is invited to share any items related to timing related positions, grants, news, or anything that concerns timing research with the TRF community via our mailing list.

Make sure to use plain text when sending these messages (i.e. no attachments or fancy formatting is allowed). Please keep in mind that the mailing list is monitored, and only the the items approved by the mailing list moderators will be circulated to our community. Looking forward to your emails!

Please email your items directly to



We invite TRF members to submit short summaries of their recently published articles on timing. Articles should be no longer than 500 words and not include more than one representative figure.

Please submit your entries after your paper is published by emailing us at Submissions are open anytime and will be featured on the TRF blog page –



We invite TRF members to blog about their experience of a timing conference/meeting/workshop that you have recently attended. Submissions can highlight prominent talks/papers presented, new methods, trends and your personal views about the conference. Pictures may also be included.

Please submit your articles (no longer than 1000 words) to within two months from the date of the conference you intend to highlight.



TRF aims to host pertinent timing related resources, so that the TRF website acts as the definitive platform for everything related to timing research. The current resources listed on the TRF website include: (1) all members’ publications, (2) timing related special issues, (3) books on timing, (4) list of meetings focused on timing, (5) list of timing related societies/groups, (6) as well as code and mentoring resources.

TRF encourages open science and supports sharing of relevant information and knowledge between its members, with the aim to advance the field of timing research. We therefore invite you all to contribute to these resources. Please email us ( your suggestions for new resources for the timing community.



As an open academic society, we hope that you participate freely and support the TRF community in achieving its mission. As we like to repeatedly emphasize, TRF’s aim is to serve all timing researchers through open exchange of ideas, information and resources to advance the timing research community. We are open to receiving your suggestions or ideas that will help TRF grow and continue to deliver on its mission. We look forward to your feedback!


With best wishes,

Sundeep Teki,

Argiro Vatakis, &

TRF ECR Committee

Email:             |