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Exp Psychol. 2016 Nov;63(6):333-342. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000339.

Temporal Prediction Errors Affect Short-Term Memory Scanning Response Time.

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1 Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile.
2 Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Lingüísticas y Literarias Andres Bello, Laboratorio de Lenguaje y Cognición, Caracas, Venezuela.
3 Escuela de Pedagogía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile.


The Sternberg short-term memory scanning task has been used to unveil cognitive operations involved in time perception. Participants produce time intervals during the task, and the researcher explores how task performance affects interval production - where time estimation error is the dependent variable of interest. The perspective of predictive behavior regards time estimation error as a temporal prediction error (PE), an independent variable that controls cognition, behavior, and learning. Based on this perspective, we investigated whether temporal PEs affect short-term memory scanning. Participants performed temporal predictions while they maintained information in memory. Model inference revealed that PEs affected memory scanning response time independently of the memory-set size effect. We discuss the results within the context of formal and mechanistic models of short-term memory scanning and predictive coding, a Bayes-based theory of brain function. We state the hypothesis that our finding could be associated with weak frontostriatal connections and weak striatal activity.


Sternberg task; memory scanning; short-term memory; temporal prediction errors

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