, Volume 49, Issue 2-3, pp 99-106

The temporal architecture of central information processing: Evidence for a tentative time-quantum model

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Summary

A new, elaborated version of a time-quantum model (TQM) is outlined and illustrated by applying it to different experimental paradigms. As a basic prerequisite TQM adopts the coexistence of different discrete time units or (perceptual) intermittencies as constituent elements of the temporal architecture of mental processes. Unlike similar other approaches, TQM assumes the existence of an absolute lower bound for intermittencies, the time-quantum T, as an (approximately) universal constant and which has a duration of approximately 4.5 ms. Intermittencies of TQM must be multiples T k=k·T * within the interval T *T kL·T *M·T * with T *=q·T and integer q, k, L, and M. Here M denotes an upper bound for multipliers characteristic of individuals, the so-called coherence length; q and L may depend on task, individual and other factors. A second constraint is that admissible intermittencies must be integer fractions of L, the operative upper bound. In addition, M is assumed to determine the number of elementary information units to be stored in short-term memory.