Localization of temporal preparation effects via trisected reaction time

Psychophysiology. 2007 Mar;44(2):334-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00500.x.


Previous research using nonchronometric measures in humans and animals has shown that warning signals can influence stages of processing throughout the reaction time (RT) interval. However, latency measures indicate that warning effects on RT are not due to the speeding of motor processes, at least not late ones. To better isolate the chronometric effects of temporal preparation, we used lateralized event-related potentials to divide mean RT into three time segments. Foreperiod duration had only a small, nonsignificant influence on the first and last segments (early visual and late motor processes, respectively). The chronometric effect was mainly restricted to the middle interval, which extended from onset of the N2pc component to onset of the lateralized readiness potential. The results imply that temporal preparation primarily speeds late perception, response selection or early motor processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cues
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrooculography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology*