UCL Institute of Neurology


Time and Movement

Compensation and Normalisation in basal ganglia surgery.

Lab Head: Professor John Rothwell



Voluntary movement of any part of the body can affect our perception of the passage of time. This is best illustrated when switching the direction of gaze towards the face of a clock that has a second hand that 'ticks' every second. On occasion, it sometimes appears as if the second hand has stopped when we see the clock. However, it is just an illusion; after a longer than normal pause, the hand continues ticking at its usual rate. The illusion comes about because the time at which we see the clock is extended back to the time the eyes started to move towards it (often about 100ms earlier). So if we actually see the hand stationary for 1s, we perceive it to have been there for longer. Our experiments test whether this occurs with movement of other parts of the body (it does) and whether it is the result of shifting attention to another place rather than movement towards it (unknown). We also investigate whether the effect occurs in non-visual sensory modalities (it does).