Journal article Open Access

Simultaneous emotional stimuli prolong the timing of vibrotactile events

Müge Cavdan; Bora Celebi; Knut Drewing

Temporal information plays a crucial role in human everyday life. Yet, perceived time is subject to distortions. Emotion, for instance, is a powerful time modulator in that emotional events are perceived longer than neutral events of the same length. However, it is unknown how exposure to emotional stimuli influences the time perception of a simultaneous neutral tactile event. To fill this gap, we tested the effect of emotional auditory sounds on the perception of neutral vibrotactile feedback. We used neutral and emotional (i.e., pleasant-high arousal, pleasant-low arousal, unpleasant-high arousal, and unpleasant-low arousal) auditory stimuli from the International Digitized Sound System (IADS). Tactile information was a vibrotactile stimulus at a fixed intensity and presented through a custom-made vibrotactile sleeve. Participants listened to auditory stimuli which were temporally coupled with vibrotactile stimulation for 2,3,4, or 5sec. Their task was to focus on the duration of vibrotactile information and reproduce elapsed time. We tested the effects of valence and arousal of auditory stimuli on the perceived duration of vibrotactile information. Simultaneously presented auditory stimuli, in general, lengthened the perceived duration of the neutral vibrotactile information compared to neutral auditory stimuli. We conclude that emotional events influence time perception of simultaneous neutral haptic events.

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