Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Time perception in children: Empirical studies in a developmental approach
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2010 (English)In: Fechner Day 2010: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics / [ed] A. Bastianelli, & G. Vidotto, Padua, Italy: International Society for Psychophysics , 2010, 585-590 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Time perception in children has been investigated mostly by an approach that integrates information regarding time, speed and distance in a Piagetian tradition. Piaget claimed that conceptual thinking develops independently of perception. Surprisingly, little subsequent research has been attempted to explore more directly time perception (subjective experience of time) in relation to physical (clock) time in children in a developmental perspective. The purpose of the present experiments was to compare time perception in a prospective paradigm (the experience of time-in-passing) in two groups of children aged 11-13 and 14-16 years with adults aged 19-45 years, using short standard durations and the psychophysical methods of reproduction (Experiment 1) and verbal estimation in subjective seconds (Experiment 2). The results show that reproductions did not differ between the three groups (Experiment 1), while in verbal estimation a developmental trend was found (Experiment 2). The younger group of children estimated the standard durations longer and less veridical than the adults. The estimates of the older group of children lay in between. The ability of children to reproduce standard durations like adults may be due to that the method of reproduction is more based on biological processes and less influenced by cognitive factors, as opposed to verbal estimation, which requires a wide variety of cognitive experiences. The findings also indicate that even the younger children at the age of 11-13 years understand the “logical” concept of time very well, which is clearly evident from the fact that they are able to use conventional time units (seconds) in a consistent way (approximately linearly related to the standard durations), despite their tendency to estimate the standard durations longer than the adults. The reason for this is probably that, besides a certain lack of cognitive experiences, psychological (subjective, perceived) time passes slower for children than for adults, which is in line with Fitzpatrick´s statement (1980). The present findings contradict Fraisse who stated that the abstract quality of the time sense generally does not appear before an age of fifteen years (Fraisse, 1967). The results are discussed in relation to both phylogenetic and ontogenetic approaches, and to a developmental perspective on time perception.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Padua, Italy: International Society for Psychophysics , 2010. 585-590 p.
Keyword [en]
biological clock, cognitive processes, development, duration, estimation, subjective time
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-47156OAI: diva2:373417
Fechner Day
Available from: 2010-11-30 Created: 2010-11-30 Last updated: 2010-12-22Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Eisler, Hannes
By organisation
Department of Psychology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 56 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link