How Long are Real-Life Events?

Luz Viviana Sastre Gomez, Rebecca Defina, Paul Garret, Jeffrey M. Zacks, Simon Dennis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Research in event cognition has focused on how people perceive and remember events under experimental conditions. This research study aims to explore the temporal duration of self-reported events from daily life (Sreekumar, et al., 2018; Zhuang, et al., 2012). The small amount of prior work that exists suggests that daily event durations have a Gaussian distribution and that people have prior beliefs that reflect this reality (Griffiths & Tenenbaum, 2006). Forty-eight participants provided activity duration data as they went about their everyday lives for 14 days. Descriptive analyses and activity duration modeling (mixture models of gaussian, gamma, normal and exponential distributions) were used to characterize event durations within activity types. Results show that most of the events present an exponential pattern of durations, while others show a bimodal pattern. Although some preplanned events have a characteristic time, many daily events have a substantial exponential component.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2022
Event44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Cognitive Diversity, CogSci 2022 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Jul 27 2022Jul 30 2022


Conference44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Cognitive Diversity, CogSci 2022


  • Cognition
  • Event duration
  • Sampling methods
  • Smartphone data


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