Adaptation reveals multi-stage coding of visual duration

James Heron, Corinne Fulcher, Howard Collins, David Whitaker, Neil W. Roach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In conflict with historically dominant models of time perception, recent evidence suggests that the encoding of our environment’s temporal properties may not require a separate class of neurons whose raison d'être is the dedicated processing of temporal information. If true, it follows that temporal processing should be imbued with the known selectivity found within non-temporal neurons. In the current study, we tested this hypothesis for the processing of a poorly understood stimulus parameter: visual event duration. We used sensory adaptation techniques to generate duration aftereffects: bidirectional distortions of perceived duration. Presenting adapting and test durations to the same vs different eyes utilises the visual system’s anatomical progression from monocular, pre-cortical neurons to their binocular, cortical counterparts. Duration aftereffects exhibited robust inter-ocular transfer alongside a small but significant contribution from monocular mechanisms. We then used novel stimuli which provided duration information that was invisible to monocular neurons. These stimuli generated robust duration aftereffects which showed partial selectivity for adapt-test changes in retinal disparity. Our findings reveal distinct duration encoding mechanisms at monocular, depth-selective and depth-invariant stages of the visual hierarchy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3016
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


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