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Exp Brain Res. 2017 Jan;235(1):15-27. doi: 10.1007/s00221-016-4774-6. Epub 2016 Sep 10.

Investigation of timing preparation during response initiation and execution using a startling acoustic stimulus.

Author information

1
School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, War Memorial Gymnasium 210-6081 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada. dmaslovat@langara.bc.ca.
2
School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, War Memorial Gymnasium 210-6081 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada.

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to examine the processes involved in the preparation of timing during response initiation and execution through the use of a startling acoustic stimulus (SAS). In Experiment 1, participants performed a delayed response task in which a two key-press movement was to be initiated 200 ms after an imperative signal (IS) with either a short (200 ms) or long (500 ms) interval between key-presses. On selected trials, a SAS was presented to probe the preparation processes associated with the initiation delay and execution of the inter-key interval. The SAS resulted in a significant decrease in the initiation time, which was attributed to a speeding of pacemaker pulses used to time the delay interval, caused by an increased activation due to the SAS. Conversely, the SAS delayed the short inter-key interval, which was attributed to temporary interference with cortical processing. In Experiment 2, participants performed a 500-ms delayed response task involving two key-presses 200 ms apart. In this condition, the SAS resulted in significantly decreased initiation time and a delayed inter-key interval (p = .053). Collectively, these results support a different timeline for the preparation of the delay interval, which is thought to be prepared in advance of the IS, and the inter-key interval, which is thought to be prepared following the IS. This conclusion provides novel information with regard to timing preparation that is consistent with models in which response preparation, initiation, and execution are considered separate and dissociable processes.

KEYWORDS:

Delayed response; Response preparation; Startle; Time estimation; Timing

PMID:
27614459
DOI:
10.1007/s00221-016-4774-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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