Document Type



Edith Cowan University


Supervisors: Professor Craig Speelman


Attention-based models and memory-based models propose different outcomes of retrospective time perception of a long task. The effects of music on perceived time duration was used to determine which model best explained the results. In an independent design, 48 adults were randomly assigned to a silent condition or one of three music conditions. In all four conditions participants completed a Sustained Attention to Response Task . In the music conditions, participants listened to 62 songs for total duration of 23 minutes 10 seconds. The music conditions varied in the familiarity of the songs, and the instruments used to perform each song. Perceived duration, number of songs remembered, perceived familiarity of the songs, and number of errors on the Sustianed Attention to Response Task was measured. Overall, the durations of the music conditions were perceived as longer than the silent condition, providing support for memory-based models. However, the difference in perceived duration between the music conditions provides some support for attention-based models. There was no correlation between the number of songs remembered and perceived duration in the music conditions. This suggests that memory-based models are limited by short-term memory-capacity. There was no significant difference in the number of errors on the Sustained Attention to Response Task between the conditions, suggesting that the music did not distract participants’ attention away from the task or from keeping track of time. Research on perceived time duration is limited by the presence of a ceiling effect as participants are required to be informed of the approximate task duration.

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