The Break Location Effect

Fortin and Massé (2000) used a time production task in which participants were trained to produce a given target duration (e.g., 2.5 sec) by pressing a key twice in practice sessions. A tone presentation started on the first key press and ended on the second key press. Feedback on time production accuracy was provided in practice trials, allowing participants to develop a stable and precise performance.

In probe trials with breaks, the task was the same, but with a silent break in tone presentation, which occurred at a predetermined duration after the first key press, as illustrated in Figure 9.1. A typical production trial with a break can be divided in three periods: (1) the prebreak period, which took place between the first key press and the break onset; (b) the silent break period; and (c) the postbreak period, defined as the time between the break offset and the second key press. The task was to execute the second key press when the sum of the prebreak and postbreak periods (a + c) corresponded to the target duration. Participants had therefore to estimate time after the first key press until the break onset, to interrupt timing during the

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