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Adaptation reveals multi-stage coding of visual duration

Heron, James; Fulcher, Corinne; Collins, Howard; Whitaker, David; Roach, Neil W.


James Heron

Corinne Fulcher

Howard Collins

David Whitaker

Professor of Vision Science


In confict with historically dominant models of time perception, recent evidence suggests that the encoding of our environment’s temporal properties may not require a separate class of neurons whose raison d'être is the dedicated processing of temporal information. If true, it follows that temporal processing should be imbued with the known selectivity found within non-temporal neurons. In the current study, we tested this hypothesis for the processing of a poorly understood stimulus parameter: visual event duration. We used sensory adaptation techniques to generate duration afterefects: bidirectional distortions of perceived duration. Presenting adapting and test durations to the same vs diferent eyes utilises the visual system’s anatomical progression from monocular, pre-cortical neurons to their binocular, cortical counterparts. Duration afterefects exhibited robust inter-ocular transfer alongside a small but signifcant contribution from monocular mechanisms. We then used novel stimuli which provided duration information that was invisible to monocular neurons. These stimuli generated robust duration afterefects which showed partial selectivity for adapt-test changes in retinal disparity. Our fndings reveal distinct duration encoding mechanisms at monocular, depth-selective and depth invariant stages of the visual hierarchy.


Heron, J., Fulcher, C., Collins, H., Whitaker, D., & Roach, N. W. (2019). Adaptation reveals multi-stage coding of visual duration. Scientific Reports, 9, 1-11.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 16, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2019
Publication Date Dec 1, 2019
Deposit Date Dec 3, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2019
Journal Scientific Reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Article Number 3016
Pages 1-11
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 10 September 2018; Accepted: 16 November 2018; First Online: 28 February 2019; : The authors declare no competing interests.


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