Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 102–119 | Cite as

Contextual relative temporal duration judgment: An investigation of sequence interruptions

  • Melody S. Berens
  • Richard E. Pastore


How do listeners judge relative duration? There currently are three primary classes of proposed timing mechanisms: interval based (judgments of discrete events), beat based (judgments of beat synchrony), and oscillator based (judgments of relative phase or synchrony). In the present research, these mechanisms were examined in terms of predictions both about how an induction sequence of preceding intervals affects relative temporal duration comparison in a simple, two-interval task and about how a pause (e.g., an interstimulus interval) within the presented sequence affects relative temporal duration judgment. Results indicated that a relative temporal judgment was best when all intervals preceding the to-be-judged interval were equal in duration to the to-be-judged interval. Results also indicated that whereas short pauses significantly impair a relative temporal duration judgment, long pauses generally do not reduce the effectiveness of the induction sequence. The results are not entirely consistent with current conceptualizations of any of the proposed mechanisms but can be fully accommodated with simple modifications to the oscillator-based mechanism.


Musical Training Weber Fraction Induction Sequence Timing Mechanism Duration Judgment 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New YorkBinghamton

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