Modality Effects on Perceiving and Acting on Time
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The modality effect of visual and auditory stimuli has been widely studied in the perception of time. Auditory intervals are consistently perceived more accurately and an auditory interval will more often be judged longer than a visual interval of the same duration. The scalar timing model and other timing models have tried to explain why this modality effect occurs and the most accepted theories for the modality variance is thought to be due to clock speed variance and memory mixing. This study looked to explore the modality effect in two temporal tasks to see if the modality effect changed when there was a motor component; the perception based task was the discrimination task and the motor based task was the reproduction task. Significant modality effects were found for both tasks with auditory intervals outperforming visual intervals. Reaction times were in general faster for auditory intervals for both tasks but in the mixed condition visual interval reaction times became faster in the reproduction task. In the discrimination task reaction times for auditory intervals in the mixed condition slowed dramatically while reaction times for visual intervals remained relatively stable. This study has supported previous findings that the same timing mechanism is used to judge time for perception and motor processes through the examination of the modality effect.