A temporal illusion is a distortion in the perception of time, which occurs when the time interval between two or more events is very narrow (typically less than a second). In such cases, a person may momentarily perceive time as slowing down, stopping, speeding up, or running backwards. Additionally, a person may misperceive the temporal order of these events.
TYPES OF TEMPORAL ILLUSIONS :
Telescoping effect: People tend to recall recent events as occurring further back in time than they actually did (backward telescoping) and distant events as occurring more recently than they actually did (forward telescoping).
Vierordt's law: Shorter intervals tend to be overestimated while longer intervals tend to be underestimated. Time intervals associated with more changes may be perceived as longer than intervals with fewer changes
Kappa effect: The Kappa effect is a form of temporal illusion verifiable by experiment, where in the temporal duration between a sequence of consecutive stimuli is thought to be relatively longer or shorter than its actual elapsed time, due to the spatial/auditory/tactile separation between each consecutive stimuli. The kappa effect can be displayed when considering a journey made in two parts that take an equal amount of time. Between these two parts, the journey that covers more distance may appear to take longer than the journey covering less distance, even though they take an equal amount of time.
Chronostasis is a type of temporal illusion in which the first impression following the introduction of a new event or task demand to the brain appears to be extended in time. For example, Chronostasis temporarily occurs when fixating on a target stimulus, immediately following a saccade (e.g., quick eye movement). This elicits an overestimation in the temporal duration for which that target stimulus (i.e., post saccadic stimulus) was perceived. This effect can extend apparent durations by up to 500 ms and is consistent with the idea that the visual system models events prior to perception. The most well-known version of this illusion is known as the stopped-clock illusion, wherein a subject's first impression of the second-hand movement of an analog clock, subsequent to one's directed attention (i.e., saccade) to the clock, is the perception of a slower-than-normal second-hand movement rate (the seconds hand of the clock may seemingly temporarily freeze in place after initially looking at it).
The oddball effect-another temporal illusion occurs when a person perceives unusual stimuli of a potential threat or mate (See Fight-or-flight response). For example, research suggests that time seems to slow down when a person skydives or bungee jumps, or when a person suddenly and unexpectedly senses the presence of a potential predator or mate. This reported slowing in temporal perception may have been evolutionarily advantageous because it may have enhanced our ability to intelligibly make quick decisions in moments that were of critical importance to our survival. However, even though observers commonly report that time seems to have moved in slow motion during these events, it is unknown whether this is a function of increased time resolution during the event, or instead an illusion of remembering an emotionally salient event.
Effects of emotional states-the perception of another persons' emotions can also change our sense of time. The theory of embodied mind (or cognition), as caused by mirror neurons, helps explain how the perception of other people's emotions have the ability to change one's own sense of time. Embodied cognition hinges on an internal process that mimics or simulates another's emotional state. Depression may increase one's ability to perceive time accurately. One study assessed this concept by asking subjects to estimate the amount of time that passed during intervals ranging from 3 seconds to 65 seconds. Results indicated that depressed subjects more accurately estimated the amount of time that had passed than non-depressed patients; non-depressed subjects overestimated the passing of time. This difference was hypothesized to be because depressed subjects focused less on external factors that may skew their judgement of time. The authors termed this hypothesized phenomenon "depressive realism."
Changes with aging-Psychologists have found that the subjective perception of the passing of time tends to speed up with increasing age in humans. This often causes people to increasingly underestimate a given interval of time as they age. This fact can likely be attributed to a variety of age-related changes in the aging brain, such as the lowering in dopaminergic levels with older age; however, the details are still being debated. In an experimental study involving a group of subjects aged between 19 and 24 and a group between 60 and 80, the participants' abilities to estimate 3 minutes of time were compared. The study found that an average of 3 minutes and 3 seconds passed when participants in the younger group estimated that 3 minutes had passed, whereas the older group's estimate for when 3 minutes had passed came after an average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
Effects of drugs-Stimulants produce overestimates of time duration, whereas depressants and anesthetics produce underestimates of time duration. Psychoactive drugs can alter the judgement of time. These include traditional psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline as well as the dissociative class of psychedelics such as PCP, ketamine and dextromethorphan. At higher doses time may appear to slow down, speed up or seem out of sequence. In a 2007 study, psilocybin was found to significantly impair the ability to reproduce interval durations longer than 2.5 seconds, significantly impair synchronizing motor actions (taps on a computer keyboard) to regularly occurring tones, and impair the ability to keep tempo when asked to tap on a key at a self-paced but consistent interval. In 1955, British MP Christopher Mayhew took mescaline hydrochloride in an experiment under the guidance of his friend, Dr Humphry Osmond. On the BBC documentary The Beyond Within, he described that half a dozen times during the experiment, he had "a period of time that didn't end for "
Stimulants can lead both humans and rats to overestimate time intervals, while depressants can have the opposite effect. The level of activity in the brain of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine may be the reason for this. Dopamine has a particularly strong connection with ones perception of time. Drugs that activate dopamine receptors speed up ones perception of time, while dopamine antagonists cause one to feel that time is passing slowly.
Effects of meditation- Researchers have increasingly focused on the benefits of meditation in everyday life and performance. Mindfulness in particular improves attention, working memory capacity, and reading comprehension. Given its emphasis on moment-to-moment awareness, they noticed that mindfulness meditation would alter time perception. The Researchers had participants carry out a temporal bisection task, where several probe durations are compared to "short" and "long" standards. Following this, participants either listened to an audiobook or a meditation that focused on the movement of breath in the body. Finally, participants completed the temporal bisection task for a second time. The control group obviously showed no change after the listening task. However, meditation led to a relative overestimation of durations.