Sussex Centre for Consciousness Science

Time Perception

Time is a physical dimension that pervades many aspects of perception, action, cognition, and consciousness - yet science knows relatively little about how time is represented and used in the brain, nor how it appears in conscious experience.  To address such interesting problems, we combine cognitive neuroscience (EEG, TMS, fMRI), psychophysical, computational modelling, and artificial systems approaches to examine how the human brain constructs temporal perception. We are currently engaged in experiments that explore how the brain may code for time, time distortions, time in virtual reality, interoceptive influences on time perception, the sense of agency, and timing between individuals in social contexts. 

The Time Perception Group at the SCCS was part of the European FET-ProActive research group TIMESTORM; an interdisciplinary project aimed at equipping artificial systems with human-like temporal cognition. By investigating artificial temporal cognition, TIMESTORM inaugurated a novel research field in cognitive systems with the potential to contribute to the advent of next generation intelligent systems, significantly promoting the seamless integration of artificial agents in human societies.

The role of the Time Perception Group within TIMESTORM focused on building biologically plausible models of human temporal perception and experience for application within the ARMAR humanoid robot developed at KIT. We achieved this by using behavioural, neuroimaging, and computational modelling approaches to understand and describe the processes underlying human time perception, with these insights integrated into the design of artificial neural networks to mimic human temporal perception and behaviour.

If you are interested in working in the Time Perception Group, we are interested in hosting interns or students at various levels. Please contact Group Leader Warrick Roseboom ( ) or Marianne Cole (marianne.cole at


Ongoing projects

Computational and neural properties of human time perception.

Unsurprisingly, as a group that studies time perception, one of the main goals of the Time group is to understand how human time perception works. To do so, we are building a computational model of human time perception and validating its architecture and performance against human behavioural and neuroimaging data. Some of our ongoing work can be seen in this recent publication in Nature Communications.

Group members: Maxine Sherman, in collaboration with Imperial College London.

Feeling of intention and agency

One of the most important aspects of consciousness is the feeling of intentionality in our actions and thoughts. To understand the foundations of this feeling, we are studying classic paradigms related to intention and volition, such as intentional binding, in combination with simple models of behaviour and neuroimaging approaches in the presence and absence of the feelings of intention. Some recent work on this can be found here and here, with the latter now accepted in Psychological Science.

Group members: Pete Lush, Keisuke Suzuki

Influence of decision making on and through time

Human reports of time (as for other perceptual dimensions) are strongly affected by the context (in time) in which they are made. We have been studying these contextual effects through time (through sequence effects) on both temporal and non-temporal perceptual features. We are exploring these effects through human behaviour, computational modelling, and neuroimaging techniques.

Group members: Reny Baykova; former group members on this topic: Acer Chang, Darren Rhodes, Marta Suarez-Pinilla


Warrick Roseboom: Group leader

As Group leader, Warrick is involved in many different projects, including projects investigating temporal prediction both behaviourally and neurally, sensory and Bayesian adaptation in time and timing, the sense of agency, and mimicking human temporal perception in artificial systems.

Maxine Sherman: Post-doctoral Research Fellow 

Maxine is working on a neuroimaging project to determine the neural foundations of subjective time perception, in connection with the ongoing modelling work in the group. This project uses fMRI, behavioural, and computational modelling approaches.

Pete Lush: Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Pete is working on the role of intention and sense of agency in perception, particularly how subjective voluntariness is reflected in temporal perception through phenomena such as intentional binding.

Reny Baykova: Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Reny is studying the influence of expectation in temporal perception and how this interacts with perceptual awareness using psychophysical, modelling, and neurophysiological measures.

Alberto Mariola: PhD student

Alberto's PhD is focused on understanding the influence of reality conviction on perception. His project will make use of virtual/substitutional reality, psychophysical, and neuroimaging approaches.