The attenuation effect in timing: Counteracting dual-task interference with time-judgment skill training
A basic finding in the time-perception literature is an interference effect in dual-task conditions involving concurrent timing and distractor tasks. Dual-task conditions typically cause time judgments to become less accurate than single-task conditions in which subjects judge time alone. Previous research (Brown, 1998 Psychological Research 6171 - 8 1; Brown and Bennett, 2002 Psychological Research 66 80-89) has shown that practice on the distractor task reduces interference, a phenomenon called the attenuation effect. The present research was designed to determine whether practice on the time-judgment task would produce a similar result. In experiment 1, subjects reproduced 6 - 14 s intervals in a series of practice trials. Some subjects received feedback regarding the accuracy of each response and others received no feedback. Subsequent testing under dual-task (timing + digit memory) conditions showed that feedback training reduced interference. In experiment 2, the practice trials included both single-task and dual-task conditions. Later tests showed that feedback training eliminated the interference effect. The results highlight the role of attentional resources, the transfer of skills, and compensatory decision processes in time-judgment skill training.
Brown, S. W. (2008). The attenuation effect in timing: Counteracting dual-task interference with time-judgment skill training. Perception, 37(5), 712-724. doi:10.1068/p5698
Brown, S.W. (2008). The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Perception, 37(5), 712-724. 10.1068/p5698.