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October 2021

When to start explicit counting in a time-intervals discrimination task: A critical point in the timing process of humans

Author(s): MeilleurWells, G., Lachance, R.

Journal/Book: J Exp Psychol Hum Percep Perf. 1999; 25: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 993-1004.

Abstract: Four interval discrimination experiments were conducted to determine the interval length at which explicit counting becomes a useful strategy. Experiment 1 showed that for intervals lasting about 1 s, there was no advantage to counting regardless of the counting strategy adopted. Experiment 2 showed that for 2.5-s intervals, performance was much better with an explicit-counting strategy. To study the functional relationship between variability and duration in the counting versus no-counting conditions, variability was estimated for base durations lasting 0.7-1.9 s in Experiment 3. This experiment showed that the generalized form of Weber's law applied well to data in the no-counting condition. Experiment 4 showed that variability remained the same for durations lasting 1.3-1.9 s when an explicit-counting strategy was adopted. Taken together, the experiments showed that it becomes useful to count explicitly when intervals are longer than 1.18 s.

Note: Article Grondin S, Univ Laval, Ecole Psychol, Quebec City, PQ G1K 7P4, CANADA

Keyword(s): LONGER STIMULUS DURATIONS; TEMPORAL INTERVALS; PERCEPTION; BISECTION; PATTERNS; MODEL; CLOCK; EMPTY; PIGEON; RANGE


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