Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society



Assessment of time perception: The effect of aging


MIGUEL  COELHO  a1 c1 , JOAQUIM JOSÉ  FERREIRA  a1 a2 , BEATRIZ  DIAS  a1 , CRISTINA  SAMPAIO  a2 , ISABEL PAVÃO  MARTINS  a1 and ALEXANDRE  CASTRO-CALDAS  a1
a1 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
a2 Instituto de Farmacologia e Terapêutica Geral, Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Hospital Santa Maria, Av. Egas Muniz, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal

Article author query
coelho m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ferreira jj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dias b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sampaio c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
martins ip   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
castro-caldas a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

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.

Correspondence:
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: migcoelho2002@yahoo.es