The Effects of Age and Event Structure on Timeline Estimation Task

AbstractMost previous studies on time perception have examined temporal order and distance judgments in isolation using controlled stimuli. However, in real life, these two elementary temporal experiences are related. Here, we examine the effects of age and event structure on temporal estimation and introduce a novel timeline estimation paradigm comprising temporal order and distance judgments with naturalistic stimuli. In two experiments, we asked participants to view a three-minute-long video clip and mark the temporal order and distance of a specific scene of the video on a horizontal timeline. In the first experiment, we conducted the timeline estimation task with three different age groups – 6-8-year-olds, 9-11-year-olds and adults – and found age-related differences in the participants’ accuracy and variability of temporal estimation. The nonlinearity between their estimates and stimulus distance decreased as their ages increased. In Experiment 2, we tested the effect of event structure on participants’ timeline estimation and observed that more complicated video resulted in more distorted temporal estimation. In sum, the current study corroborated the timeline estimation task to be a valuable tool for assessing temporal judgments across development.

Return to previous page