Time sharing in rats: A peak-interval procedure with gaps and distracters.
Four hypotheses (switch, instructional-ambiguity, memory decay, and time sharing) were evaluated in a reversed peak-interval procedure with gaps by presenting distracter stimuli during the uninterrupted timed signal. The switch, instructional-ambiguity, and memory-decay hypotheses predict that subjects should time through the distracter and delay responding during gaps. The time-sharing hypothesis assumes that the internal clock shares attentional and working-memory resources with other processes, so that both gaps and distracters delay timing by causing working memory to decay. We found that response functions were displaced both by gaps and by distracters. Computer simulations show that when combined, the memory-decay and time-sharing hypotheses can mechanistically address present data, suggesting that these two hypotheses may reflect different levels of analysis of the same phenomenon.
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