Experiment 1 Manipulating Uncertainty About Break Occurrence With Frequency Of Trials With Breaks

This experiment was designed to test the effect of frequency of trials with breaks in two groups of participants. The main hypothesis was that the effect of expecting a break would be stronger in the high-frequency group than in the low-frequency group.

A secondary objective of experiment 1 was to use new stimulus conditions, mainly to enhance generality of results. In Fortin and Massé's (2000) experiments, break periods were delimited by a silent interruption in tone presentation: the tone was interrupted and resumed at the beginning and the end of the break, respectively. These stimulus conditions are similar to those in the standard gap procedure used in animal studies, where a gap in stimulus presentation is used to induce a break in timing. In the present experiment, the stimulus conditions were reversed: a tone onset indicated the beginning of the break period, and a tone offset, the end of the break. Performance in a similar reversed-gap procedure seemed to differ from that in a standard gap procedure in recent animal experiments (Buhusi and Meck, 2000, 2002).

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