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Brain Cogn. 2010 Dec;74(3):262-72. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2010.08.006. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

Human performance on the temporal bisection task.

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HHMI/Princeton University, Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton, NJ 08544, United States.


The perception and processing of temporal information are tasks the brain must continuously perform. These include measuring the duration of stimuli, storing duration information in memory, recalling such memories, and comparing two durations. How the brain accomplishes these tasks, however, is still open for debate. The temporal bisection task, which requires subjects to compare temporal stimuli to durations held in memory, is perfectly suited to address these questions. Here we perform a meta-analysis of human performance on the temporal bisection task collected from 148 experiments spread across 18 independent studies. With this expanded data set we are able to show that human performance on this task contains a number of significant peculiarities, which in total no single model yet proposed has been able to explain. Here we present a simple 2-step decision model that is capable of explaining all the idiosyncrasies seen in the data.

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