The time course of temporal preparation in an applied setting: a study of gaming behavior

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2013 Nov;144(3):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.09.003. Epub 2013 Oct 2.


We examined the time course of temporal preparation in the practice of computer gaming. Participants held an infrared rifle to shoot animated figures ("terrorists") that appeared from an elevator that opened briefly after the sound of a bell. The sound was either loud or soft and the interval between the sound and the opening of the elevator varied between 100 and 600ms. We found that shooting latency decreased exponentially as a function of interval, reflecting growing temporal preparation towards an optimum. When the sound was soft, this function was shifted to the right as compared to when the sound was loud. These findings are consistent with a model assuming that preparation starts upon the detection of a warning (i.e., later for the soft than for the loud sound) and continues until the detection of a target (i.e., longer as the interval increases). These results signify a successful application of a theoretical model in an applied setting.

Keywords: 2340 (Cognitive Processes); Computer gaming; Temporal preparation.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Sound
  • Video Games / psychology*