Research ArticlePSYCHOLOGY

Who hit the ball out? An egocentric temporal order bias

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Science Advances  24 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaav5698
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav5698


Temporal order judgments can require integration of self-generated action events and external sensory information. We examined whether conscious experience is biased to perceive one’s own action events to occur before simultaneous external events, such as deciding whether you or your opponent last touched a basketball heading out of bounds. Participants made temporal order judgments comparing their own touch to another participant’s touch, a mechanical touch, or an auditory click. In all three manipulations, we find a robust bias to perceive self-generated action events to occur about 50 ms before external sensory events. We denote this bias to perceive self-actions earlier as the “egocentric temporal order” bias. Thus, if two players hit a ball nearly simultaneously, then both will likely have different subjective experiences of who touched last, leading to arguments.

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