Adobe, MIT, Stanford, & University of Zaragoza
VR Time Perception
HCI Researcher
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Time perception is fluid and can change in response to different visual inputs. Previous literature shows that time perception at short intervals is affected by low-level aspects of visual stimuli, including luminance contrast and temporal frequency. At long intervals, high-level aspects like emotions elicited by visual input affect time perception, but are confounded with semantics. In this project, we investigate the effects of changes in low-level aspects of visual input on time perception at long intervals. We conduct experiments in traditional displays (TD) and virtual reality (VR), and find that luminance contrast, temporal frequency of presentation, and field of view (FoV; tested in VR only) have significant effects on time perception.

First, we find that contrast and frequency have significant effects on time judgements of 30s trials with static images in TD. Second, we replicate these results in VR, and also find a significant effect of FoV. Third, the effects of contrast and frequency hold up when using 30s trials of video clips in TD. Fourth, we extend our experiments to longer blocks of up to 3 minutes while varying stimuli frequency, and find consistent results. Our results show that higher frequency, higher contrast, and larger FoV (bigger visual magnitude changes) shorten perceived time. These results provide a means of modifying visual stimuli to change their perceived duration. These findings have far-reaching implications for virtual technology used in a variety of settings, ranging from healthcare to productivity.


Malpica, S., Herman, L. M., Wetzstein, G., Bylinskii, Z., Masia, B., Eagleman, D. Sun, Q. (2020). Has half the time passed? Investigating time perception at long time scales in Virtual Reality. Journal of Vision.

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under review

Malpica, S., Masia, B., Herman, L. M., Wetzstein, G., Eagleman, D., Gutierrez, D., Bylinskii, Z., Sun, Q. (2020). Altering interval time perception: the inverted effect of asemantic visual features. PNAS. [Under Review.]

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under review
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