Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Converging Evidence That Common Timing Processes Underlie Temporal-Order and Simultaneity Judgments: A Model-Based Analysis

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Converging Evidence That Common Timing Processes Underlie Temporal-Order and Simultaneity Judgments: A Model-Based Analysis

Article excerpt

Published online: 27 March 2015

# The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2015

Abstract Perception of simultaneity and temporal order is studied with simultaneity judgment (SJ) and temporal-order judgment (TOJ) tasks. In the former, observers report whether presentation of two stimuli was subjectively simultaneous; in the latter, they report which stimulus was subjectively presented first. SJ and TOJ tasks typically give discrepant results, which has prompted the view that performance is mediated by different processes in each task. We looked at these discrepancies from a model that yields psychometric functions whose parameters characterize the timing, decisional, and response processes involved in SJ and TOJ tasks. We analyzed 12 data sets from published studies in which both tasks had been used in within-subjects designs, all of which had reported differences in performance across tasks. Fitting the model jointly to data from both tasks, we tested the hypothesis that common timing processes sustain simultaneity and temporal-order judgments, with differences in performance arising from task-dependent decisional and response processes. The results supported this hypothesis, also showing that model psychometric functions account for aspects of SJ and TOJ data that classical analyses overlook. Implications for research on perception of simultaneity and temporal order are discussed.

Keywords Simultaneity . Temporal order . Timing processes . Decisional processes

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

The timing processes sustaining perception of simultaneity and temporal order are respectively inferred from observers' performance in simultaneity judgment (SJ) and temporal-order judgment (TOJ) tasks. In both cases, each trial presents a pair of stimuli whose onsets (or offsets) occur at arbitrary times, resulting in a temporal delay regarded as positive when the stimulus designated "test" lags the stimulus designated "reference" and negative when the test stimulus leads the reference stimulus. In SJ tasks, observers report whether presentation (or extinction) of the two stimuli was subjectively simultaneous. Because observers directly report perception of simultaneity, the temporal delay at which simultaneous responses are maximally prevalent is interpreted as the point of subjective simultaneity (PSS). In contrast, in TOJ tasks observers report which stimulus was subjectively presented (or extinguished) first (or second), with no option to report subjective simultaneity. The temporal delay at which observers give equal numbers of "test first" and "reference first" (alternatively, "test second" and "reference second")responses is taken as the PSS, but this is only an indirect measure because the TOJ task avoids collecting evidence of perceived simultaneity. Strictly speaking, such analysis of TOJ data only identifies the temporal delay at which "test first" and "reference first" responses are equally prevalent, which is synonymous with the PSS only under the strong additional assumption that observers give "test first" and "reference first" responses equally often when they perceive simultaneity. Unfortunately, the validity of such assumption cannot be tested with TOJ data for lack of evidence as to when observers perceived simultaneity and, then, guessed a response.

PSS estimates obtained with SJ and TOJ tasks have systematically been reported to differ in within-subjects studies using both tasks with the same stimuli and conditions (Barnett-Cowan & Harris, 2009, 2011; Capa, Duval, Blaison, & Giersch, 2014; Donohue, Woldorff, & Mitroff, 2010; Fujisaki & Nishida, 2009;Li&Cai,2014;Linares& Holcombe, 2014; Love, Petrini, Cheng, & Pollick, 2013; Schneider & Bavelier, 2003; Stevenson & Wallace, 2013; van Eijk, Kohlrausch, Juola, & van de Par, 2008; van Eijk et al. 2010; Sanders, Chang, Hiss, Uchanski, & Hullar, 2011; Vatakis, Navarra, Soto-Faraco, & Spence, 2008). …

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