Duration distortions familiar from trauma present an apparent counterexample to what we might call the naive view of duration perception. I argue that such distortions constitute a counterexample to naiveté only on the assumption that we perceive duration absolutely. This assumption can seem mandatory if we think of the alternative, relative view as limiting our awareness to the relative durations of perceptually presented events. However, once we recognize the constant presence of a stream of nonperceptual conscious mental activity, we can provide an attractive, purely relative account of temporal distortions quite consistent with the naive view. I also consider (and reject) a second empirical challenge to the naive view arising from the so-called 'oddball effect'. I conclude by tentatively pointing to further empirical data, traditionally accounted for in terms of an internal clock model of timing, which, I suggest, may be understood more illuminatingly by appeal to the idea that we perceive duration in part relative to concurrent non-perceptual mental activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas