Expert baseball players commonly report that they feel the ball ‘slowing down’ when about to swing their bat. Their comments raise an interesting question of how humans perceive time prior to action, in other words, how motor preparatory activity effects on visual processing to change the subjective flow of time.
Every daily event is associated with time, and we intuitively feel that we live on a constant and continuous time line. However, studies have revealed that physical temporal events and the perception of these events are not always matched. This counterintuitive nature of temporal perception has fascinated philosophers and scientists for centuries. Since humans are moving animals, perception of time must also be studied in an active situation. However, most studies relating temporal perception have, thus far, focused on static sensory processing and few studies have addressed how action can modulate an actor’s perception of time.
The aim of this proposal is to understand the modulation of human temporal perception in an active context; focusing on the period when the brain is preparing for action. A series of behavioural and electrophysiological studies will be conducted to reveal the neuronal mechanism involved in this process. State-of-art machine learning algorithms will be used to analyze brain activity, and also a recently developed brain stimulation technique will be used to modulate brain activity, in order to elucidate the causal relationship between brain activity and temporal perception.
The proposed research is expected to advance research in neurocognition of action, a distinctively European research field, by incorporating state-of-art research techniques. It will also facilitate interdisciplinary interaction between related fields (neuroscience, psychology, engineering and philosophy) within the European research community, and will contribute to building and maintaining connections between European and Japanese research communities.
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