Relative merits of interval and entrainment conceptions of the internal clock were assessed within a common theoretical framework by 4 time-judgment experiments. The timing of tone onsets marking the beginning and ending of standard and comparison time intervals relative to a context rhythm were manipulated: onsets were on time, early, or late relative to the implied rhythm, and 2 distinct accuracy patterns emerged. A quadratic ending profile indicated best performance when the standard ended on time and worst performance when it was early or late, whereas a flat beginning profile (Experiments 1-3) indicated uniform performance for the 3 expectancy conditions. Only in Experiment 4, in which deviations from expected onset times were large, did significant effects of beginning times appear in time-discrimination thresholds and points of subjective equality. Findings are discussed in the context of theoretical assumptions about clock resetting, the representation of time, and independence of successive time intervals.
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