Timing a week later: The role of long-term memory in temporal preparation

Rozemarijn M. Mattiesing, Wouter Kruijne, Martijn Meeter, Sander A. Los

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Temporal preparation has been investigated extensively by manipulating the foreperiod, the interval between a warning stimulus and target stimulus requiring a speeded response. Although such research has revealed many effects of both the duration and distribution of foreperiods on reaction times, the underlying cognitive mechanism is still largely unknown. Here, we test a recent proposal that temporal preparation is driven by the retrieval of memory traces of past experiences from long-term memory rather than by knowledge about upcoming events. Two groups of participants received different foreperiod distributions in an acquisition phase, which was followed a week later by a transfer phase, in which both groups received the same distribution of foreperiods. We found that the effects of the different foreperiod distributions presented in the acquisition phase were still apparent a week later during the transfer phase, as the reaction time patterns of both groups reflected the old distributions. This occurred even though both groups were provided with full information about the change in the distribution of foreperiods at the start of the transfer phase. These findings provide compelling evidence that long-term memory plays an important role in temporal preparation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1900-1905
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Long-Term/physiology
  • Mental Recall/physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult

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