Various factors influence the perceived timing of visual events. Yet, little is known about the ways in which transient visual stimuli affect the estimation of the timing of other visual events. In the present study, we examined how a sudden color change of an object would influence the remembered timing of another transient event. In each trial, subjects saw a green or red disk travel in circular motion. A visual flash (white frame) occurred at random times during the motion sequence. The color of the disk changed either at random times (unpredictable condition), at a fixed time relative to the motion sequence (predictable condition), or it did not change (no-change condition). The subjects' temporal memory of the visual flash in the predictable condition was as veridical as that in the no-change condition. In the unpredictable condition, however, the flash was reported to occur closer to the timing of the color change than actual timing. Thus, an unpredictable visual change distorts the temporal memory of another visual event such that the remembered moment of the event is closer to the timing of the unpredictable visual change.
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