THE EFFECTS OF SENSORY MODALITY AND TYPE OF TASK ON DISCRIMINATION OF DURATIONS RANGING FROM 400 TO 1,400 MILLISECONDS

  • Thomas H. Rammsayer

Abstract

In several studies, better acuity has been shown for temporal processing in the auditory compared to the visual sensory modality. More recently, experimental evidence has been provided for superior performance on duration discrimination with the reminder task than with the two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) task. The present study was designed to further elucidate the influence of sensory modality and type of psychophysical task on temporal discrimination of intervals ranging from 400 to 1,400 ms. As an indicator of relative temporal sensitivity, Weber fractions were computed. Lower Weber fractions, indicating better discrimination performance, were obtained with the reminder task compared to the 2AFC task irrespective of sensory modality. Better temporal sensitivity could be also revealed for auditory compared to visual stimuli. In addition, a significant interaction between sensory modality and base duration indicated that the modality-dependent difference in temporal sensitivity was most pronounced at the shortest (400-ms) base duration.

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