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Perception of social interaction compresses subjective duration in an oxytocin-dependent manner

  1. Rui Liu
  2. Xiangyong Yuan
  3. Kepu Chen
  4. Yi Jiang  Is a corresponding author
  5. Wen Zhou  Is a corresponding author
  1. Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  3. CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, China
  4. Radboud University, Netherlands
Research Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e32100 doi: 10.7554/eLife.32100
4 figures and 3 additional files

Figures

Schematic illustration of an exemplar trial in the duration judgment task.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.003
Figure 2 with 1 supplement
Perception of social interaction shortens subjective duration.

(A) Proportion of responses in which observers reported a communicative motion sequence as longer in duration than a noncommunicative one, plotted as a function of the physical duration difference between the two. Data are shown for the upright (solid curve) and the inverted (dashed curve) conditions in Experiment 1. Inset shows the PSEs. A PSE of 0 indicates a consistency between subjective duration and physical duration. (B-C) Psychometric functions for Experiments 2 and 3 where a temporally delayed version (B) and a spatially swapped version (C) of the motion sequences in Experiment 1 were respectively used. In both cases, the strengths of the spatial-temporal correlations between acting agents were unaltered but the communicative intentions were disrupted. (D) The PSEs for the upright condition versus the PSEs for the inverted condition for individual observers in Experiments 1 (red dots), 2 (blue squares) and 3 (lime triangles). A slope of 1 (dashed diagonal line) represents comparable PSEs for the upright and the inverted conditions. Error bars: standard errors of the mean; ***p<0.001.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.004
Figure 2—figure supplement 1
Supplementary Experiment.

(A) The visual stimuli consisted of two small discs (black and white, each subtending 1.1°) drawn on a gray background. The black disc started out at a random location between 9.5° and 14.3° horizontally to the left or the right of fixation and the white disc started out with one of its edges (that closest to the black disc) vertically aligned with the fixation point (0.6°×0.6°). Both discs were positioned 2.8° vertically below fixation. In a launching event (upper panel), the black disc moved toward the white disc at a random speed between 5.9°–35.6°/s, stopped when the two discs became adjacent, and the white disc instantly started moving at the same speed and direction (toward the other edge of the display). It was typically perceived as ‘causal’, namely, the arrival of one moving object caused the motion of the other object. In a streaming event (lower panel), the black disc moved toward the white disc at a random speed between 5.9°– 35.6°/s, overlapped completely with the white disc, and continued moving at the same speed and direction while the white disc remained stationary. This was typically perceived as ‘noncausal’, that is, one moving object simply streamed past another stationary object. The experimental procedure was otherwise identical to that of the main experiments. There were 42 trials in each block and a total of 4 blocks. Arrows indicate motion directions of the discs. (B) Proportion of responses in which observers reported a launching event as longer in duration than a streaming event, plotted as a function of the physical duration difference between the two. The mean PSE across 24 participants (12 females; mean age ±SD = 22.8±3.3 years) was −105.8 ms, significantly below 0 (t23 = −5.78, p<0.001, Cohen’s d = −1.18; inset), that is, a ‘causal’ launching event dilated subjective duration such that it needed to be 105.8 ms shorter to be perceived as equal in duration to a ‘noncausal’ streaming event. This was in sharp contrast to the temporal compression effect of perceived social interactions observed in Experiment 1. Error bars: standard errors of the mean; ***p<0.001.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.005
The degree of temporal compression induced by the perception of social interactions reflects one’s social proficiency.

(A) Psychometric function for Experiment 4 which contained only the upright condition. Inset shows the overall PSE. (B) Across the observers, one’s PSE negatively correlated with his score on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ). (C) Comparison of the PSEs for low AQ (<20) versus high AQ (≥20) observers. Error bars: standard errors of the mean; †: marginally significant, ***p≤0.001.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.006
Oxytocin mediates temporal perception of social interactions.

(A-D) Psychometric functions for Experiments 5 and 6 where high AQ observers (A-B) and low AQ observers (C-D) completed the duration judgment task of upright motion sequences both before (light gray curves) and after the nasal administration of oxytocin (red curve in A), atosiban (blue curves in B and C) or saline (dark gray curve in D). Insets show the PSEs. (E) The PSEs after drug administration versus those before drug administration for high AQ individuals treated with oxytocin (light brown dots with red circles), high AQ individuals treated with atosiban (light brown dots with blue circles), low AQ individuals treated with atosiban (dark brown dots with blue circles) and low AQ individuals treated with saline (dark brown dots with gray circles). A slope of 1 (dashed diagonal line) represents comparable PSEs before and after drug administration. (F) Bivariate distributions of 1000 bootstrapped sample means for each group. Error bars: standard errors of the mean; *p<0.05, ***p≤0.001.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.007

Additional files

Source data 1

Raw data.

PSEs and difference limens (DLs) for individual participants in Experiments 1-6.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.008
Supplementary file 1

Description of the point-light motion sequences used in the duration judgment task.

C1-10 were chosen from the Communicative Interaction Database (Manera et al., 2010). NC1-10 were produced by cross-pairing the agents of the same gender from C1-10. 

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.009
Transparent reporting form
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32100.010

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