Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Facial emotion modulates the neural mechanisms responsible for short interval time perception

Tipples, Jason; Brattan, Victoria; Johnston, Pat


Jason Tipples

Victoria Brattan

Pat Johnston


Emotionally arousing events can distort our sense of time. We used mixed block/event-related fMRI design to establish the neural basis for this effect. Nineteen participants were asked to judge whether angry, happy and neutral facial expressions that varied in duration (from 400 to 1,600 ms) were closer in duration to either a short or long duration they learnt previously. Time was overestimated for both angry and happy expressions compared to neutral expressions. For faces presented for 700 ms, facial emotion modulated activity in regions of the timing network Wiener et al. (NeuroImage 49(2):1728-1740, 2010) namely the right supplementary motor area (SMA) and the junction of the right inferior frontal gyrus and anterior insula (IFG/AI). Reaction times were slowest when faces were displayed for 700 ms indicating increased decision making difficulty. Taken together with existing electrophysiological evidence Ng et al. (Neuroscience, doi: 10.3389/fnint.2011.00077 , 2011), the effects are consistent with the idea that facial emotion moderates temporal decision making and that the right SMA and right IFG/AI are key neural structures responsible for this effect.


Tipples, J., Brattan, V., & Johnston, P. (2015). Facial emotion modulates the neural mechanisms responsible for short interval time perception. Brain topography, 28(1), 104-112.

Acceptance Date Dec 17, 2013
Online Publication Date Dec 27, 2013
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 12, 2015
Journal Brain topography
Print ISSN 0896-0267
Electronic ISSN 1573-6792
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 1
Pages 104-112
Keywords Time perception, Neural clock, Emotion
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations