Sense of Time and Executive Functioning in Children and Adults
A number of patient studies suggest that impairments in frontal lobe functions are associated with disorders in temporal information processing. One implication of these findings is that subjective experience of time should be related to executive functions regardless of etiology. In two experiments, we examined sense of time in relation to components of executive functioning in healthy children and adults. In Experiment 1, children between 8 to 12 years completed six experimental tasks that tapped three components of executive functioning: inhibition, updating, and mental shifting. Sense of time was examined in a duration judgment task in which participants reproduced stimulus durations between 4 to 32 s. In Experiment 2, adult participants completed the time reproduction task under varying concurrent task demands. Both experiments showed selective effects in that time reproduction errors were related to the inhibition and updating, but not to the shifting, components of executive functioning. However, the observed effects were modulated by task demands and age-related differences in cognitive competence. We conclude that individual differences in executive functioning are only weakly related to time reproduction performance in healthy children and adults.