A theoretical analysis of the relationship between cognitive complexity and the perception of time and distance is presented and experimentally verified. Complex tasks produce high rates of mental representation which affect the subjective sense of duration and, through the subjective time scale, the percent of distance derived from dynamic visual cues (i.e., visual cues requiring rate integration). The analysis of the interrelationship of subjective time and subjective distance yields the prediction that, as a function of cognitive complexity, distance estimates derived from dynamic visual cues will be longer than the actual distance whereas estimates based on perceived temporal duration will be shorter than the actual distance. This prediction was confirmed in an experiment in which subjects (both pilots and non-pilots) estimated distances using either temporal cues or dynamic visual cues. The distance estimation task was also combined with secondary loading tasks in order to vary the overall task complexity. The results indicated that distance estimates based on temporal cues were underestimated while estimates based on visual cues were overestimated. This spatio-temporal distortion effect increased with increases in overall task complexity.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Portions of this document are illegible in microfiche products.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    P.O. Box 1663
    Los Alamos, NM  United States  87545
  • Authors:
    • Barrett, C L
    • Weisberger, S A
  • Publication Date: 1989

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00494349
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: LA-UR-89-2895, CONF-8910208-1
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 31 1990 12:00AM