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The specificity of temporal expectancy: Evidence from a variable foreperiod paradigm

Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
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  • 150 Psychologie


In speeded choice tasks with variable foreperiods (FPs), individuals behaviourally adapt to various frequency manipulations. Adaptations have been shown to frequencies of different stimulus–response events, to frequencies of different foreperiods, and to frequencies of different event–foreperiod combinations. We have investigated how participants adapt to a situation where all three frequency manipulations are done simultaneously. Three variable foreperiod experiments are reported. In Experiment 1, one target (the peak distributed target) appeared particularly frequently after one particular FP (the peak foreperiod), while another target was less frequent and equally distributed over all foreperiods. In Experiment 2, the equally distributed target was overall more frequent than the peak distributed one. In both experiments, performance advantages for the peak distributed target were specific to the peak foreperiod, and performance advantages at the peak foreperiod were specific to the peak distributed targets. A third experiment showed that, when two differently frequent target are both equally distributed over FPs, the performance distribution over FPs is not significantly different between both targets. Together, the results suggest that participants were able to simultaneously and specifically adapt to frequency manipulations in events, foreperiods, and event–foreperiod combinations.

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