How Self-Motion in Virtual Reality Affects the Subjective Perception of Time

Weber, Stefan; Weibel, David; Mast, Fred W. (2020). How Self-Motion in Virtual Reality Affects the Subjective Perception of Time. Timing & Time Perception, 8(2), pp. 119-136. Brill 10.1163/22134468-20191152

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The velocity of moving stimuli has been linked to their experienced duration. This effect was extended to instances of self-motion, where one’s own movement affects the subjective length of time. However, the experimental evidence for this extension is scarce and the effect of self-motion has not been investigated using a reproduction paradigm. Therefore, we designed a virtual reality scenario that controls for attention and eliminates the confounding effect of velocity and acceleration. The scenario consisted of a virtual road on which participants (n = 26) moved along in a car for six different durations and with six different velocities. We measured the subjective duration of the movement with reproduction and direct numerical estimation. We also assessed levels of presence in the virtual world. Our results show that higher velocity was connected to longer subjective time for both forms of measurement. However, the effect showed deviations from linearity. Presence was not associated with subjective time and did not improve performance on the task. We interpreted the effect of velocity as corroborating previous work using stimulus motion, which showed the same positive association between velocity of movement and subjective time. The absence of an effect of presence was explained in terms of a lacking dependency of time on characteristics of the virtual environment. We suggest applying our findings to the design of virtual experiences intended for inducing time loss.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Weber, Stefan (A), Weibel, David, Mast, Fred


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Stefan Weber

Date Deposited:

18 Feb 2020 10:54

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:37

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Time perception; self-motion; presence; virtual reality




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