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Is the interference between memory processing and timing specific to the use of verbal material?

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Increasing load in a memory task performed simultaneously with a timing task shortens perceived time, an effect that has been observed previously with memory tasks using verbal material. The present experiments examine whether two similar memory tasks, one in which verbal material is used and another one in which nonverbal material is used, would produce similar interference effects on concurrent time reproduction. In Experiment 1, the number of nonverbal stimuli (pseudo-random dot patterns) was manipulated in a memory task performed while a temporal interval to be reproduced was encoded. Reproductions shortened proportionally to the duration of memory processing executed during time estimation. Verbal stimuli (consonants) were used in Experiment 2 in otherwise identical experimental conditions. Effects observed in Experiment 2 were comparable to those obtained in Experiment 1. Taken together, these results support the notion that interference from memory tasks on concurrent time estimation is not determined by the specific type of material processed in memory, but instead by the duration of memory processing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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