Cognitive Load and the Perception of Time



Gerrity, Colleen E

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis examined the role of instruction protocol and order of visual stimuli as methods of cognitive loading on the perception of time. A duration discrimination task was conducted in which the same participant pool was presented with two sets of instructions, as well as with visual stimuli presented in a standard-comparison or comparison-standard order. Previous research indicated that tasks with high cognitive load led to increased errors in discriminating intervals of time due to demands on the allocation of attentional resources and working memory. The results of the present study revealed that the combination of instruction protocol and order of visual stimuli had significant effects on the accuracy, but not the precision, of time perception in the duration discrimination task. It is thought that the use of instruction protocol may have mitigated the effects on precision, but further research is necessary to verify. Overall, the results of this study provide implications for real-world learning and how cognitive load interacts with human time perception and performance on tasks.



Time perception, Attention, Psychology, Cognitive load, Working memory, Neuroscience