Temporal experience : perception and action dynamics

Ayşe Melisa Kurtcan

This thesis is composed of an empirical study and a philosophical discussion on the influence of temporally altered feedback adaptation in response to willful actions upon the dynamic perceptual character of experience. In the former, the effects of delayed visual feedback adaptation on temporal integration of different perceptual features (such as color or motion direction) are studied using psychophysical methods based on previously shown perceptual order reversal of casual action and perceptual outcome after a delay adaptation (Stetman et al., 2006). Whereas in the latter, the philosophical background and the implications of our results on temporal experience are evaluated in light of current philosophical theories. We show that visuo-motor temporal recalibration elicited with respect to motion direction change in response to a voluntary causal action results in reduced apparent asynchrony between dynamic visual features of moving dots such as change in colour and motion direction previously observed by Moutoussis and Zeki (1997). Further experiments using a passive feature-correspondence task following an active recalibration phase revealed that this effect is attributable to voluntary action execution. Our claim is that the ongoing perceptual information is temporally regulated based on functional interpretation in respect of its causal history in action - perception loop which is triggered by the executive command. Predictive coding is suggested as the only model which fulfills these two characteristics: (i) dynamic recalibration of the temporal relations between voluntary action - sensory outcome (ii) cognitive interpretation of the functional content based on previously acquired causal relations.