Click trains and the rate of information processing: does "speeding up" subjective time make other psychological processes run faster?

Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2011 Feb;64(2):363-80. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2010.502580. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


A series of experiments demonstrated that a 5-s train of clicks that have been shown in previous studies to increase the subjective duration of tones they precede (in a manner consistent with "speeding up" timing processes) could also have an effect on information-processing rate. Experiments used studies of simple and choice reaction time (Experiment 1), or mental arithmetic (Experiment 2). In general, preceding trials by clicks made response times significantly shorter than those for trials without clicks, but white noise had no effects on response times. Experiments 3 and 4 investigated the effects of clicks on performance on memory tasks, using variants of two classic experiments of cognitive psychology: Sperling's (1960) iconic memory task and Loftus, Johnson, and Shimamura's (1985) iconic masking task. In both experiments participants were able to recall or recognize significantly more information from stimuli preceded by clicks than those preceded by silence.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Attention
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception*