The temporal-relevance temporal-uncertainty model of prospective duration judgment

Dan Zakay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A model aimed at explaining prospective duration judgments in real life settings (as well as in the laboratory) is presented. The model is based on the assumption that situational meaning is continuously being extracted by humans' perceptual and cognitive information processing systems. Time is one of the important dimensions of situational meaning. Based on the situational meaning, a value for Temporal Relevance is set. Temporal Relevance reflects the importance of temporal aspects for enabling adaptive behavior in a specific moment in time. When Temporal Relevance is above a certain threshold a prospective duration judgment process is evoked automatically. In addition, a search for relevant temporal information is taking place and its outcomes determine the level of Temporal Uncertainty which reflects the degree of knowledge one has regarding temporal aspects of the task to be performed. The levels of Temporal Relevance and Temporal Uncertainty determine the amount of attentional resources allocated for timing by the executive system. The merit of the model is in connecting timing processes with the ongoing general information processing stream. The model rests on findings in various domains which indicate that cognitive-relevance and self-relevance are powerful determinants of resource allocation policy. The feasibility of the model is demonstrated by analyzing various temporal phenomena. Suggestions for further empirical validation of the model are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-190
Number of pages9
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2015


  • Attention
  • Prospective duration judgment
  • Temporal Relevance
  • Temporal uncertainty


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