Research Topic

Causality and Learning under Adapted Temporal Perception

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Time differs from the three spatial dimensions in the sense that it flows only in one direction. The sense of time has long been a topic of studies by psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists, but its mechanisms have not yet fully understood. Extant studies of temporal adaptation may be classified ...

Time differs from the three spatial dimensions in the sense that it flows only in one direction. The sense of time has long been a topic of studies by psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists, but its mechanisms have not yet fully understood. Extant studies of temporal adaptation may be classified into five distinct categories: hemispheric difference in time perception, temporal adaptation in speech processing, impaired time perception with mental disorders, neural models of temporal perception, and more recently, multimodal temporal perception.

This Special Topic proposes a new perspective in time perception by emphasizing the role of temporal perception in learning and causality. Temporal perception is most important in relating a self-initiated action to corresponding consequences. It is unsurprising that the human perceptual and motor systems exploit this temporal unidirectionality. Inter-stimulus temporal order provides a crucial cue to the visual system in estimating a given motion stimulus, and to the auditory system in localizing a sound-source position. Time is most important in the motor control system, where appropriate movements require precisely coordinated timing of muscle activation. It is also known that delayed visual feedback as short as a fraction of a second has deleterious effects on writing and drawing. Further, delayed auditory feedback of self-generated voice has been found to impair speech. Therefore, timely control of the musculoskeletal system and sensory feedback from periphery receptors are of vital importance both in perceiving the external environment and in coordinating body movements.

Recent lines of studies have demonstrated that our temporal perception is flexibly adaptive, so a consequence of an action may be felt before the action itself. When adapted to delayed visual feedback of one’s own action, a sudden removal of the delay leads to an illusory reversal of action and consequence (Stetson et al., 2006). We demonstrated that the learning rate of prism adaptation compensating displaced vision depends on physical delay rather than adapted subjective delay (Tanaka et al. 2011). These lines of studies challenge our naïve notion about causality and learning that a consequence always follows an action and that one can learn from a consequence caused by an action. Therefore, the proposed Special Topic hence focuses on a new perspective of how our sense of causality and effects of learning are modified when our temporal perception is experimentally manipulated. Questions of the Special Topic include:
- Behavioral/Psychophysical
Under what conditions does an illusory reversal of an action and a result occur?
How does the sense of causality affect a course of our learning? (Tanaka et al., 2011)
Can temporal reversal illusion be exploited to expedite a learning process?
- Neuroimaging
What brain areas are most activated in relation to temporal adaptation and illusion? (Stetson et al. 2006)
Can temporal sensation and subjective causality be decoded from multi-voxel analysis of fMRI activation pattern?
Computational
What statistical principles do the brain uses for inferring temporal order between events? (Miyazaki et al. 2005, 2006)
What computational learning models (e.g., supervised, unsupervised or reinforcement learning) elucidate underlying mechanism for the illusion? (Doya 1999)

Understanding causality and learning under adapted temporal perception requires a multidisciplinary approach, so researchers in a wide range of disciplines, including psychophysics, neuroimaging, and computational modeling, are welcome to contribute to the Research Topic.


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