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Differential effects of auditory and visual signals on clock speed and temporal memory

Differential effects of auditory and visual signals on clock speed and temporal memory

Authors: 
Penney T.B., Gibbon J. & Meck W.H.
Year: 
2000
Journal: 
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Abstract: 

The effects of signal modality on duration classification in college students were studied with the duration bisection task. When auditory and visual signals were presented in the same test session and shared common anchor durations, visual signals were classified as shorter than equivalent duration auditory signals. This occurred when auditory and visual signals were presented sequentially in the same test session and when presented simultaneously but asynchronously. Presentation of a single modality signal within a test session, or both modalities but with different anchor durations did not result in classification differences. The authors posit a model in which auditory and visual signals drive an internal clock at different rates. The clock rate difference is due to an attentional effect on the mode switch and is revealed only when the memories for the short and long anchor durations consist of a mix of contributions from accumulations generated by both the fast auditory and slower visual clock rates. When this occurs auditory signals seem longer than visual signals relative to the composite memory representation.

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