Knowing your Heart Reduces Emotion-Induced Time Dilation
Human timing and interoception are closely coupled. Thus, temporal illusions like, for example, emotion-induced time dilation, are profoundly affected by interoceptive processes. Emotion-induced time dilation refers to the effect when emotion, especially in the arousal dimension, leads to the systematic overestimation of intervals. The close relation to interoception became evident in previous studies which showed increased time dilation when participants focused on interoceptive signals. In the present study we show that individuals with particularly high interoceptive accuracy are able to shield their timing functions to some degree from interference by arousal. Participants performed a temporal bisection task with low-arousal and high-arousal stimuli, and subsequently reported their interoceptive accuracy via a questionnaire. A substantial arousal-induced time dilation effect was observed, which was negatively correlated with participants' interoceptive accuracy. Our findings support a pivotal role of interoception in temporal illusions, and are discussed in relation to neuropsychological accounts of interoception.