Repository logo

Temporal cognition: Connecting subjective time to perception, attention, and memory.

Accepted version

Repository DOI



Change log


Matthews, William J 
Meck, Warren H 


Time is a universal psychological dimension, but time perception has often been studied and discussed in relative isolation. Increasingly, researchers are searching for unifying principles and integrated models that link time perception to other domains. In this review, we survey the links between temporal cognition and other psychological processes. Specifically, we describe how subjective duration is affected by nontemporal stimulus properties (perception), the allocation of processing resources (attention), and past experience with the stimulus (memory). We show that many of these connections instantiate a "processing principle," according to which perceived time is positively related to perceptual vividity and the ease of extracting information from the stimulus. This empirical generalization generates testable predictions and provides a starting-point for integrated theoretical frameworks. By outlining some of the links between temporal cognition and other domains, and by providing a unifying principle for understanding these effects, we hope to encourage time-perception researchers to situate their work within broader theoretical frameworks, and that researchers from other fields will be inspired to apply their insights, techniques, and theorizing to improve our understanding of the representation and judgment of time. (PsycINFO Database Record



Anticipation, Psychological, Attention, Cognition, Emotions, Humans, Judgment, Memory, Memory, Short-Term, Perception, Time, Time Perception, Visual Perception

Journal Title

Psychol Bull

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



American Psychological Association (APA)