Locus of the effect of temporal preparation: evidence from the lateralized readiness potential

Psychophysiology. 2003 Jul;40(4):597-611. doi: 10.1111/1469-8986.00061.


It is well established that reaction time (RT) is shorter when a response signal is preceded by a warning signal, because the warning signal causes the participant to prepare for the upcoming response. A review of chronometric and psychophysiological studies reveals the prevailing view that this temporal preparation operates mainly at a motor level speeding up rather late processes. To assess the locus of this preparation effect, we conducted two experiments employing the lateralized readiness potential (LRP). Contrary to this prevailing view, the results of both experiments clearly indicate that temporal preparation enhances the processing speed of relatively early processes, because a manipulation of temporal uncertainty affected RT, the P300 latency, and the stimulus-to-LRP interval but not the LRP-to-keypress interval.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrooculography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / physiology*