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Shifts of criteria or neural timing? The assumptions underlying timing perception studies

Yarrow, K., Jahn, N., Durant, S. & Arnold, D. H. (2011). Shifts of criteria or neural timing? The assumptions underlying timing perception studies. Consciousness and Cognition, 20(4), pp. 1518-1531. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.07.003


In timing perception studies, the timing of one event is usually manipulated relative to another, and participants are asked to judge if the two events were synchronous, or to judge which of the two events occurred first. Responses are analyzed to determine a measure of central tendency, which is taken as an estimate of the timing at which the two events are perceptually synchronous. When these estimates do not coincide with physical synchrony, it is often assumed that the sensory signals are asynchronous, as though the transfer of information concerning one input has been accelerated or decelerated relative to the other. Here we show that, while this is a viable interpretation, it is equally plausible that such effects are driven by shifts in the criteria used to differentiate simultaneous from asynchronous inputs. Our analyses expose important ambiguities concerning the interpretation of simultaneity judgement data, which have hitherto been underappreciated.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Consciousness and Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Consciousness and Cognition Volume 20, Issue 4, December 2011, Pages 1518–1531,
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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