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Differences in duration discrimination of filled and empty auditory intervals as a function of base duration.

Authors
  • Rammsayer, Thomas H
Type
Published Article
Journal
Attention Perception & Psychophysics
Publisher
Springer - Psychonomic Society
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2010
Volume
72
Issue
6
Pages
1591–1600
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/APP.72.6.1591
PMID: 20675803
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In the present experiments, participants were presented with two time intervals that were marked by auditory signals, and their task was to decide which of the two was longer in duration. In Experiment 1, the base durations were 50 and 1,000 msec, whereas in Experiment 2, seven different base durations ranging from 50 to 1,000 msec were employed. It was found that filled intervals (continuous tones) were discriminated more accurately than empty intervals (with onset and offset marked by clicks) at the 50-msec base duration, whereas no performance differences could be shown for longer ones. The findings are consistent with the notion of a unitary timing mechanism that governs the timing of both filled and empty auditory intervals, independent of base durations. A likely conceptual framework that could explain better performance with filled as compared with empty intervals represents an information-processing model of interval timing that evolved from scalar timing theory. According to this account, a performance decrement observed with empty intervals may be due to a misassignment of pulses generated by an internal pacemaker.

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