Time perception in migraine sufferers: an experimental matched-pairs study


Dr Evangelos Anagnostou, Mavromichali 146, 11472 Athens, Greece. Tel. + 30 69 3729 8265, fax + 30 21 0725 4317, e-mail evan73@ath.forthnet.gr


Despite occasional case reports, the influence of migraine on time perception has not been systematically investigated. We used an experimental technique to study the estimation of auditory duration in 40 migraineurs at different tone intervals in the ms and in the 1-s range and compared their performance with 40 matched normal subjects. With a time awareness questionnaire we also evaluated the subjective experience of elapsing time for long durations involving long-term memory processes. Migraine did not influence temporal judgements in either of the tests, suggesting that migraineurs do not generally over- or underestimate temporal events. The subgroup of migraineurs with a depressive disorder, however, showed a marked speeding up of their internal timekeeping mechanisms, pointing to depression as an important covariable in time perception.