Bendixen, A., Grimm, S., & Schröger, E. (2005). Human auditory event-related potentials predict duration judgments. Neuroscience Letters, 383(3), 284-288.

Human auditory event-related potentials predict duration judgments

Internal clock models postulate a pulse accumulation process underlying timing activities, with more accumulated pulses resulting in longer perceived durations. We investigated whether this accumulation is reflected in the amplitude of event-related brain potentials (ERPs) elicited by auditory stimuli with durations of 400-600 ms. In a duration discrimination paradigm, we found more negative amplitudes to physically identical stimuli when they were judged as longer than the memorized standard duration (500 ms) as compared to being classified as shorter. This sustained negativity was already developing during the first 100 ms after stimulus onset. It could not be explained as a bias to respond with a particular hand (lateralized readiness potential), but rather reflects a processing difference between the tones to be judged as shorter or longer. Our results are in line with models of time processing which assume that higher numbers of accumulated pulses of a temporal processor result in an increase in perceived duration.


Cognitive and Biological Psychology

University of Leipzig
Faculty of Life Sciences
Institute of Psychology
Neumarkt 9-19
D-04109 Leipzig


Dagmar Schrödl
Phone: +49 341 97-39570
Email: dagmar dot schroedl at uni-leipzig dot de

Dorit Thieme
Phone: +49 341 97-39540
Email: d dot thieme at uni-leipzig dot de

Fax: +49 341 97-39271