Assessment of time perception: The effect of aging
Studies concerning time perception lack a validated assessment tool and a consensual “gold-standard” measure. Moreover, the present evidence suggests modification of timing with aging. This study aimed to develop and validate a neuropsychological tool to measure time perception and to study temporal perception with aging. Eighty-six healthy participants, aged 15–90 years old, were asked to verbally estimate and produce empty intervals signaled by auditory beeps, of 7-, 32-, and 58-s duration. Two tests were used as “gold-standards”: estimation of the duration of time necessary to draw a clock (“clock time”) and estimation of the duration of neuropsychological evaluation (“global time”). Results showed a correlation between estimation and production (p < .01) and a correlation between estimation or production and “global time” (p < .01). The correlation between either estimation or production and age (p < .01), suggested a faster “internal-clock” in the older participants. However, this finding lost significance when controlled for literacy. The results suggest that these tests are potentially a useful tool to measure subjective perception of time. They also corroborate the hypothesis of a change in subjective time perception with aging. It was not possible to conclude if this effect was a specific result of aging or biased by the interference of literacy. (JINS, 2004, 10, 332–341.)(Received June 3 2002)
(Revised July 28 2003)
(Accepted August 26 2003)
Key Words: Time perception; Aging; Working memory; Attention.
c1 Reprint requests to: Miguel Coelho, Laboratório de Estudos da Linguagem, Centro de Estudos Egas Moniz, Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Hospital Santa Maria, Av. Egas Muniz, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org