Interval timing as an emergent learning property.
Interval timing in operant conditioning is the learned covariation of a temporal dependent measure such as wait time with a temporal independent variable such as fixed-interval duration. The dominant theories of interval timing all incorporate an explicit internal clock, or "pacemaker," despite its lack of independent evidence. The authors propose an alternative, pacemaker-free view that demonstrates that temporal discrimination can be explained by using only 2 assumptions: (a) variation and selection of responses through competition between reinforced behavior and all other, elicited, behaviors and (b) modulation of the strength of response competition by the memory for recent reinforcement. The model departs radically from existing timing models: It shows that temporal learning can emerge from a simple dynamic process that lacks a periodic time reference such as a pacemaker.
Dragoi, V; Staddon, JER; Palmer, RG; Buhusi, CV
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