In most working-memory tasks, a person is given a list and is asked to recall it in various manners. For example, they could recall it forwards, backwards, freely or try to recall a specific item given it's position.

However, has there been any tests where temporal information is emphasized? For example, consider the scenario where there is 1 second between the presentation of the first and second item in the list, but 2 seconds between the second and third items in the list. I could then ask the person which item was temporally closer to the second item in the list.

Has there been any Working Memory research of this temporal nature?


1 Answer 1


In "Similarity Breeds Proximity: Pattern Similarity within and across Contexts Is Related to Later Mnemonic Judgments of Temporal Proximity" by Youssef Ezzyat and Lila Davachi, timing between stimuli was kept constant, but the context of the stimuli was manipulated.

task description

They found that changing contexts increased the perceived temporal distance between stimuli.

task results

Alternatively, in "Learning and Generalization of Auditory Temporal–Interval Discrimination in Humans" by Wright et al., differentiating temporal distance between tones were learned. Additionally, in "Anticipation of future events improves the ability to estimate elapsed time" by Yoshiaki Tsunoda and Shinji Kakei, the probability distribution of distance between a warning signal and a trigger for a "GO"-like task was learned.

These experiments operate on very different time scales (milliseconds vs seconds) with very differently semantically-loaded stimuli (images vs tones). Although neither of them describe in the exact experiment in the original question, together they show the various ways perception and memory is affected temporal cues.


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