Temporal discrimination as a function of marker duration
Journal/Book: Percept Psychophys. 1996; 58: 1710 Fortview Rd, Austin, TX 78704. Psychonomic Soc Inc. 1213-1223.
Abstract: In a series of three experiments, the effect of marker duration on temporal discrimination was evaluated with empty auditory intervals bounded by markers ranging from 3 to 300 msec or presented as a gap within a continuous tone. As a measure of performance, difference thresholds in relation to a base duration of 50 msec were computed. Performance on temporal discrimination was significantly better with markers ranging from 3 to 150 msec than with markers ranging from 225 to 300 msec or under the gap condition. However, within each range of marker duration (3-150 msec; 225-300 msec or gap) performance did not differ significantly. A fourth experiment provided evidence that the effect of marker duration cannot be explained in terms of marker-induced masking. A good approximation of the relationship between marker duration and temporal discrimination performance in the present experiments is a smooth step function, which can account for 99.3% of the variance of mean discrimination performance. Thus, the findings of the present study point to the conclusion that two different mechanisms are used in the processing of temporal information, depending on the duration of the auditory markers. The tradeoff point for the hypothetical shift from one timing mechanism to the other may be found at a marker duration of approximately 200 msec.
Note: Article TH Rammsayer, Univ Jena, Inst Psychol, Steiger 3-1, D-07743 Jena, Germany
Keyword(s): GAP DETECTION; RECOGNITION MASKING; AUDITORY INTERVALS; NOISE; TIME; PERCEPTION; FREQUENCY; BANDWIDTH; RESOLUTION; SIGNALS