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Cogn Psychol. 2000 Nov;41(3):254-311.

Expectancy, attention, and time.

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The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Seven experiments examine the influence of contextual timing manipulations on prospective time judgments. Subjects judged durations of standard vs comparison time intervals in the context of a preceding induction (context) sequence. In some experiments, the rate of the induction sequence was systematically manipulated relative to the range of to-be-judged standard time intervals; in others, the induction sequence was omitted. Time judgments were strongly influenced by the rate of an induction sequence with best performance occurring when the standard time interval ended as expected, given context rate. An expectancy profile, in the form of an inverted U, indicated that time estimation accuracy declined systematically as a standard interval differed from a context rate. A similar expectancy profile emerged when the context rate was based on a harmonic subdivision (one-half) of an expected standard interval. Results are discussed in terms of various stimulus-based models of prospective time judgments, including those which appeal to attentional periodicities and entrainment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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