Effects of Induced Muscle Tension on Judgment of Time

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The functional relation between induced muscle tension and temporal perception was explored. Judgments of the duration of 4 intervals (6, 12, 24, and 48 sec.) were made under 5 levels of muscle tension (0, 10, 20, 30, and 40% of maximum grip strength) by the methods of reproduction and verbal estimation. The effects of degree of muscle tension were negligible at the two shortest stimulus durations. At the two longer intervals, perceived duration decreased as a non-monotonic function of muscle load. Findings were independent of the psychophysical methods employed. Disparities in the magnitude of duration judgments secured by the two psychophysical methods were also dependent upon stimulus duration. At 24 and 48 sec., verbal estimates of the standard interval were significantly longer than reproductions. Differences in response magnitude between methods were not observed at the two shortest stimulus intervals. Results are discussed in terms of the general relation between activity level and temporal perception and in terms of the problem of methodological equivalence in judgments of time.

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