Encoding of Duration and Rate by an Integrative Model of Temporal Processing


  • Carolyn Brighouse Department of Philosophy, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
  • Jess Hartcher-O’Brien Institute d'Etude de la Cognition, L'Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris,
  • Carmel A. Levitan Department of Cognitive Science, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA


Duration, rate, time perception, temporal integration, methodology of science


Several models of temporal processing have been proposed in the empirical literature on time perception; all have been developed as models of a single temporal property, primarily event duration. We argue that there is ample reason to expand upon these models in order to include the processing of both rate and duration. We describe several ways that two popular timing models could handle rate, and illustrate that they would lead to different patterns of co-variation of rate and duration judgments. We review evidence that seemingly indicates discrepancies between the manner in which rate and duration are processed, and show that this evidence is problematic. A failure to carefully consider more global models has led to overly hasty arguments derived from empirical results suggesting a necessary dissociation between mechanisms of rate and duration. We argue instead that these findings place important constraints on how a global model might function, but do not rule out a common mechanism for rate and duration judgment.