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Abstract

This article is initially focussed on Warren Meck’s early work on temporal reference memory, in particular the idea that some drug manipulations affect ‘memory storage speed’. Meck’s original notion had links to an earlier literature, not usually related to timing, the study of memory consolidation. We present some examples of the use of the idea of memory storage speed from Meck’s early work, and show how it was abandoned in favour of a ‘memory constant’, K*, not related to storage speed per se. Some arguments against the idea of memory storage speed are presented, as well as discussion of a small amount of research on consolidation of memories for time. Later work on temporal reference memory, including rapid acquisition and interference effects, is also discussed.

In: Timing & Time Perception

Abstract

Studies of judgements of the durations of filled auditory and visual stimuli were reviewed, and some previously unpublished data were analysed. Data supported several conclusions. Firstly, auditory stimuli have longer subjective durations than visual ones, with visual stimuli commonly being judged as having 80–90% of the duration of auditory ones. Secondly, the effect was multiplicative, with the auditory/visual difference increasing as the intervals became longer. Only a small number of exceptions to both these conclusions were found. Thirdly, differences in variability between judgements of auditory and visual stimuli derived from most procedures were small and sometimes not statistically significant, although differences almost always involved visual stimuli producing more variable judgements. Currently, the most viable explanation of the effects appears to be some sort of pacemaker-counter model with higher pacemaker speed for auditory stimuli, although this approach cannot, in its present form, deal quantitatively with all the findings usually obtained.

Open Access
In: Timing & Time Perception

Brief periods of repetitive stimulation (click trains) presented either contiguous or simultaneous to an interval have been previously shown to impact on its perceived duration. In the current investigation we asked whether the perception of temporal order can be altered in a similar way. Participants completed a dichotic spectral temporal order judgement task with the stimuli titrated to their individual thresholds. Immediately prior to the judgement, participants were presented with five seconds of click trains, white noise or silence. We extended previous work on this topic by using each participant’s accuracy and response time data to estimate diffusion model parameters so that the cognitive mechanisms underlying any effect of click trains on the response could be disentangled. There was no effect of stimulation condition on participant’s accuracy, or diffusion model parameters (drift rate, boundary separation or non-decision time). The present findings therefore suggest that click trains do not influence temporal order perception. Additionally, the previous suggestion that click trains induce an increase in the rate of information processing was not supported for this temporal order task. Further work probing the limits and conditions of the click train effect will help to constrain and extend theoretical accounts of subjective timing.

Open Access
In: Timing & Time Perception