Published March 11, 2024 | Version v1
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Time perception in film viewing: A modulation of scene's duration estimates as a function of film editing

  • 1. Panteion Panepistemio Koinonikon kai Politikon Epistemon
  • 2. ROR icon Panteion University


Filmmakers and editors have empirically developed techniques to ensure the spatiotemporal continuity of a film's narration. In terms of time, editing techniques (e.g., elliptical, overlapping, or cut minimization) allow for the manipulation of the perceived duration of events as they unfold on screen. More specifically, a scene can be edited to be time compressed, expanded, or real-time in terms of its perceived duration. Despite the consistent application of these techniques in filmmaking, their perceptual outcomes have not been experimentally validated. Given that viewing a film is experienced as a precise simulation of the physical world, the use of cinematic material to examine aspects of time perception allows for experimentation with high ecological validity, while filmmakers gain more insight on how empirically developed techniques influence viewers' time percept. Here, we investigated how such time manipulation techniques of an action affect a scene's perceived duration. Specifically, we presented videos depicting different actions (e.g., a woman talking on the phone), edited according to the techniques applied for temporal manipulation and asked participants to make verbal estimations of the presented scenes' perceived durations. Analysis of data revealed that the duration of expanded scenes was significantly overestimated as compared to that of compressed and real-time scenes, as was the duration of real-time scenes as compared to that of compressed scenes. Therefore, our results validate the empirical techniques applied for the modulation of a scene's perceived duration. We also found interactions on time estimates of scene type and editing technique as a function of the characteristics and the action of the scene presented. Thus, these findings add to the discussion that the content and characteristics of a scene, along with the editing technique applied, can also modulate perceived duration. Our findings are discussed by considering current timing frameworks, as well as attentional saliency algorithms measuring the visual saliency of the presented stimuli. 



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Journal article: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2024.104206 (DOI)


ChronoPilot – Modulating Human Subjective Time Experience 964464
European Council




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  • Lydia Liapi, Elpida Manoudi, Maria Revelou, Katerina Christodoulou, Petros Koutras, Petros Maragos, Argiro Vatakis, Time perception in film viewing: A modulation of scene's duration estimates as a function of film editing, Acta Psychologica, Volume 244, 2024, 104206, ISSN 0001-6918,