Memory for timing visual and auditory signals in albino and pigmented rats

J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 2005 Jan;31(1):18-30. doi: 10.1037/0097-7403.31.1.18.


The authors hypothesized that during a gap in a timed signal, the time accumulated during the pregap interval decays at a rate proportional to the perceived salience of the gap, influenced by sensory acuity and signal intensity. When timing visual signals, albino (Sprague-Dawley) rats, which have poor visual acuity, stopped timing irrespective of gap duration, whereas pigmented (Long-Evans) rats, which have good visual acuity, stopped timing for short gaps but reset timing for long gaps. Pigmented rats stopped timing during a gap in a low-intensity visual signal and reset after a gap in a high-intensity visual signal, suggesting that memory for time in the gap procedure varies with the perceived salience of the gap, possibly through an attentional mechanism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention*
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Mental Recall
  • Motivation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans / psychology*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley / psychology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Perception*
  • Visual Acuity*
  • Visual Perception*