What is it about?

In the past, many research studies have shown that the time interval between an action and the elicited effect (e.g., a beep-tone shortly after a keystroke) is perceived as shorter than it actually is, but only if the effect was indeed intended by the person. This phenomenon has been demonstrated in several studies and is called "intentional binding." In our study, we have shown that our participants also perceived the time interval between their action and the subsequent effect as shorter than in reality. Most importantly, however, we have shown that this was true even when participants experienced an effect that they assumed had nothing to do with their action and was not intended by them. Therefore, we argue that "intentional binding" might not exclusively be related to intention, but to other processes, too. Intentional binding in the past might have been overestimated.

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Why is it important?

Intentional binding - the subjective shortening of the time interval between an action (like a key-press) and it's outcome (like a beep-tone) - is often used as a way to measure how strongly a person feels in control over their actions and their environment. By showing, that intentional binding might be also linked to other processes and not only intentional actions, future research get more cautious with interpreting intentional binding effects. This helps future research to be more precise in their findings.


This was my first article that I published as first author together with my great research group. I hope, that it contributes to research regarding intentional actions and associated phenomenons.

Julian Gutzeit
Julius-Maximilians-Universitat Wurzburg

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Intentional binding: Merely a procedural confound?, Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance, May 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/xhp0001110.
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