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Circumstances Matter - Establishing a Timeline for the Context Effect in Interval Timing

Eike, R. (2018) Circumstances Matter - Establishing a Timeline for the Context Effect in Interval Timing. Master's Research Project 1, Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.


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The timing of events is crucial for behaviours and cognitive processes. Research has established that the estimation of intervals is influenced by many factors. The context effect shows that the same duration is underestimated when encountered within a block of short durations and overestimated when encountered within a block of relatively long durations. While these behavioural findings have often been replicated, the underlying neural mechanism as well as the timeline of this phenomenon is not clear. Traditional models of time perception assume that the representation of an interval is blended with memory traces from previous durations after perception. Alternatively, context could already actively influence the perception of a duration. In the current study, participants performed an auditory reproduction task while EEG was recorded. The context effect was introduced by two types of blocks one consisting of short durations and one consisting of long durations. One duration interval was present in both blocks. In an exploratory analysis, we investigated whether timingrelated ERP components showed differences based on context and during which phase of a trial (perception, memorization or reproduction) differences are evident in the EEG signal. Behavioural results showed that reproductions depended on the context. The CNV was found to be more negative for the overlapping duration in the short context during the perception and reproduction phase. With EEG decoding analysis it was possible to distinguish the context of a trial during the perception and memorization stage. These results suggest that the context already affects the perception stage of an interval. This indicates that timing models not only need to implement a memory process but also consider the effect of previous durations on perception.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Research Project 1)
Supervisor name: Damsma, A. and Schlichting, N. and Rijn, D.H.van
Degree programme: Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences
Thesis type: Master's Research Project 1
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2018 10:54
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2022 15:25

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