Orcadian Modulation of Interval Timing

Lustig and Meck (2001) used a modality manipulation in a temporal bisection task to examine the interaction of interval and circadian timing processes. In brief, they found that the timing sensitivity of older participants was modulated by the time of day at which testing occurred. Older participants were better timers during the morning than during the afternoon, whereas younger participants were better timers during the afternoon than in the morning. Although both groups perceived auditory signals as subjectively longer than visual signals of the same duration, the older adults were more sensitive to visual durations than auditory durations when tested in the morning. In contrast, the younger adults were equally sensitive to auditory and visual signals in the morning and in the afternoon. The authors suggested that the older participants concentrated their controlled attentional resources on the single visual trials when tested in the morning (for additional details about aging and time perception, see Lustig, this volume).

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