2011 | 7 | 49-54
Article title

Timelines of past events: Reconstructive retrieval of temporal patterns

Selected contents from this journal
Title variants
Languages of publication
Most naturalistic events are temporally and structurally complex in that they comprise a number of elements and that each element may have different onset and offset times within the event. This study examined temporal information processing of complex patterns of partially overlapping stimulus events by using 2 tasks of temporal processing. Specifically, participants observed a pantomime in which 5 actors appeared on the scene for different periods of time. At test, they estimated the duration each actor was present or reconstructed the temporal pattern of the pantomime by drawing a timeline for each actor. Participants made large errors in the time estimation task, but they provided relatively accurate responses by using the timeline as a retrieval support. These findings suggest that temporal processing of complex asynchronous events is a challenging cognitive task, but that reliance on visuo-spatial retrieval support, possibly in combination with other temporal heuristics, may produce functional approximations of complex temporal patterns.
Physical description
  • Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Block, R. A. (1989). A contextualistic view of time and mind. In J. T. Fraser (Ed.),Time and mind: Interdisciplinary issues(pp. 61-79). Madison, CT: International Universities Press.
  • Block, R. A., & Zakay, D. (1996). Models of psychological time revisited. In H. Helfrich (Ed.),Time and mind(pp. 171-195). Kirkland, WA: Hogrefe & Huber.
  • Block, R. A., & Zakay, D. (1997). Prospective and retrospective duration judgments: A meta-analytic review.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4, 184-197.
  • Boroditsky, L. (2000). Metaphoric structuring: Understanding time through spatial metaphors.Cognition, 75, 1-28.
  • Brown, S. W. (1985). Time perception and attention: The effects of prospective versus retrospective paradigms and task demands on perceived duration.Perception and Psychophysics, 38, 115-124.
  • Brown, S. W., & West, A. N. (1990). Multiple timing and the allocation of attention.Acta Psychologia, 7, 103-121.
  • Carelli, M. G., Forman, H., & Mäntylä, T. (2008). Experienced durations and executive functioning in children and adults.Child Neuropsychology, 11, 1-15.
  • Carelli, M. G., & Mäntylä, T. (1997). Gender biases in children's memory for expected and unexpected objects in real-world settings.British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 15, 1-16.
  • Casasanto, D., & Boroditsky, L. (2008). Time in the mind: Using space to think about time.Cognition, 106, 579-593.
  • Church, R. M. (2003). A concise introduction to scalar timing theory. In W. H. Meck (Ed.),Functional and neural mechanisms of interval timing(pp. 3-22). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  • Forman, H., Mäntylä, T., & Carelli, M. G. (2011). Time keeping and working memory development in early adolescence: A four-year follow-up.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 170-179.
  • Friedman, W. J. (1993). Memory for the time of past events.Psychological Bulletin, 113, 44-66.
  • Friedman, W. J. (2004). Time in autobiographical memory.Social Cognition, 22, 605-621.
  • Friedman, W., Gardner, A. G., & Zubin, N. R. E. (1995). Children's' comparisons of the recency of two events from the past year.Child Development, 66, 970-983.
  • Friedman, W. J., & Kemp, S. (1998). The effects of elapsed time and retrieval on young children's judgments of the temporal distances of past events.Cognitive Development, 13, 335-367.
  • James, W. (1950).The principles of psychology(Vol. 1). New York: Dover. (Original work published 1890).
  • Kant, I. (1965).Critique of pure reason(N. Smith, Trans.). New York: St. Martin's Press. (Original work published 1781).
  • Mäntylä, T. (2010). Remembering in time: Cognitive control of time keeping. In L. Bäckman & L. Nyberg (Eds.),Memory, aging and the brain. A feschschrift in honour of Lars-Göran Nilsson(pp. 77-211). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Mäntylä, T., Carelli, M. G, & Forman, H. (2007). Time monitoring and executive functioning in children and adults.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 96, 1-19.
  • Nelson, K. (1996). The emergence of temporal mind. In K. Nelson (Ed.),Language in cognitive development: The emergence of the mediated mind(pp. 259-291). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Núñez, R., & Sweetser, E. (2006). Looking ahead to the past: Convergent evidence from aymara language and gesture in the crosslinguistic comparison of spatial construals of time.Cognitive Science, 30, 401-450.
  • Piaget, J. (1969).The child's conception of time.New York: Ballantine Books. (Original work published 1927).
  • Tversky, B., Kugelmass, S., & Winter, A. (1991). Cross-cultural and developmental trends in graphic productions.Cognitive Psychology, 23, 515-557.
  • Vallesi, A., Binns, M. A., & Shallice, T. (2008). An effect of spatial-temporal association of response codes: Understanding the cognitive representations of time.Cognition, 106, 579-593.
  • Vanneste, S., & Pouthas, V. (1999). Timing in aging: The role of attention.Experimental Aging Research, 25, 49-67.
  • Zacks, J. M., Speer, N. S., Swallow, K. M., Braver, T. S., & Reynolds, J. R. (2007). Event perception: A mind/brain perspective.Psychological Bulletin, 133, 273-293.
  • Zacks, J. M., & Tversky, B. (2001). Event structure in perception and conception.Psychological Bulletin, 127, 3-21.
  • Zakay, D., & Block, R. A. (2004). Prospective and retrospective duration judgments: An executive-control perspective.Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, 64, 319-328.
  • Zalla, T., Pradat-Diehl, P., & Sirigu, A. (2003). Perception of action boundaries in patients with frontal lobe damage.Neuropsychologia, 41, 1619-1627.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.