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Memory Research Laboratory
Preview this item Preview this item. Series: Macmillan psychology reference series. Find a copy online Links to this item find. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Contains alphabetically arranged articles that provide information on key topics in learning and memory, written by experts in the field, and includes biographical sketches of notable individuals, now deceased, who have contributed to the understanding of learning and memory.
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In the present study, we therefore tested participants using a generalization task involving the learning of a reference duration and a test deferred by 24 h, comparing in different groups a wide range of reference stimulus durations, from milliseconds ms to several seconds 2. For each reference duration, two conditions were examined in independent sub-groups: with and without a min interference task presented 30 min after the learning of the reference duration.
Our hypotheses were that the disruption of the memory consolidation process by an interference task would produce a lengthening effect and increase the variability of time judgment in the temporal generalization task at all time scales. The experiment took place in a small soundproof room.
The visual temporal stimulus was a gray disk 2. An E-prime program 2.
Associationist Theories of Thought
Psychology Software Tools controlled all experimental events and recorded the data. The participant was instructed to recall, in backward order, a series of digit sequences containing a number of digits that progressively increased from sequence to sequence from 2 to 8 digits.
There were two trials per sequence, and a total of seven sequences that were administered repeatedly during a min period.
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The participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups 50 participants per group for training in a temporal generalization task with different reference durations: ms, 2. In each duration group, the participants were first trained learning phase and then tested 24 h later test phase.
In the learning phase, the participant had to learn and memorize the reference stimulus duration: The disk cue was first presented 5 times for the reference duration. This was followed by two training blocks of four trials each, including two trials with the reference stimulus duration ms, 2. The inter-trial interval was randomly selected between 0. The participants were explicitly told not to count during the presentation of the stimuli because this can bias scientific results for the efficacy of methods used to prevent counting, see Rattat and Droit-Volet, In addition, as we can see below, our data did not show a violation of the temporal scalar property characteristic of a counting effect on timing.
In the test phase, performed 24 h after the learning phase, 72 trials composed of 8 blocks of 9 random trials were presented. The nine trials consisted of three trials with the reference duration ms, 2. The values were therefore as follows: , , , , , and ms; 0. The participants had to judge whether the stimulus duration was or was not the same as the reference duration they had learned the previous day.
No feedback was given. To examine the effects of disruption in the consolidation process on time judgment, two subgroups of participants were formed for each duration group: a group of participants that performed a min interference task 30 min after the learning phase Interference group , and a control group that did not perform any interference task No-interference group see Cocenas-Silva et al. An analysis of variance ANOVA was performed on p yes with two between-subjects factors interference and duration groups and one within-subjects factor stimulus duration tested.
As illustrated in Figure 2A , this interaction suggests a flattening of the generalization gradient as the reference duration to be judged increased. This superposition of generalization gradients with a rescaled time axis is the hallmark of the scalar property of time judgment Gibbon, ; Wearden and Lejeune, The scalar property of time was therefore maintained in long-term memory, i.
Figure 1. Figure 2. The magnitude of the difference in p yes between the longest and the shortest durations was indeed larger with than without interference [0. This suggests a trend toward a temporal lengthening effect due to the interference task. To further characterize the impact of the interference task on the variability and the accuracy of long-term temporal judgment, we calculated a the peak time, b the standardized error, and c the width of the temporal generalization gradient at half of its maximum height full width at half maximum, FWHM Figure 3.
It is a measure of the stimulus durations judged similar to the reference duration. The standardized error is the difference between the peak time and the reference duration divided by the reference duration. The FWHM is a measure of temporal variability. Table 1 shows the mean and standard error for the different measures obtained in the different groups. Figure 3.
Table 1. Figure 4. Distribution of individual standardized errors in the long-term memory test with bottom panels or without top panels an interference task for the ms, 2.
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Each bar represents one subject. Figure 5. FWHM plotted against peak time in the long-term memory test with or without an interference task top or these two conditions combined bottom. We next attempted to identify the mechanisms underlying the higher temporal variability in long-term memory, and the trend toward a lengthening effect for p yes , when an interference task is introduced after the learning phase. To do this, we applied the generalization model originally used by Church and Gibbon for rats Church and Gibbon model and subsequently modified for human adults modified Church et al.
This MCG model is fully described in numerous manuscripts or books Wearden, , such as that by Delgado and Droit-Volet in which a figure illustrates the effect of manipulating one parameter, while the others are kept constant, on the generalization gradient. This model estimates three parameters, c , K , and b , as follows. The reference duration in memory follows a Gaussian distribution with a mean s and a coefficient of variation c. The parameter c is thus the coefficient of variation of the memory representation of the reference duration, s.
The parameter b is a decision parameter. Using a computer program written in Visual Basic, we fitted the model to the individual data. Table 2. Parameter values for the fits of the modified Church and Gibbon model with the individual data obtained in the h delayed test with and without an interference task.
Our study examined time judgment in a generalization task with different reference durations ranging from a few hundred milliseconds to multiple seconds, when the participants had to compare probe durations with the reference duration learned 24 h earlier.