Do not count too slowly: evidence for a temporal limitation in short-term memory

Psychon Bull Rev. 2015 Jun;22(3):863-8. doi: 10.3758/s13423-014-0740-0.


Some data in the time perception literature have indicated that Weber's law for time does not hold: The Weber fraction gets higher with longer intervals. It is posited that this increase may reflect a fundamental information-processing limitation. If that is true, counting at a pace at which the intervals between counts remain within this capacity limitation should be more accurate than counting with intervals exceeding this capacity. In a task in which participants had to count up to a target number for a series of trials, the variability of the durations covered for reaching the target was higher when the intercount interval lasted 1,600 ms than when it lasted 800 ms. This finding provides evidence pointing toward the existence of a fundamental temporal limitation for processing information efficiently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult