Interval timing, temporal averaging, and cue integration

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2016 Apr;8:60-66. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2016.02.004.


In a series of recent experiments, we found that if rats are presented with two temporal cues, each signifying that reward will be delivered after a different duration elapses (e.g., tone-10 seconds / light-20 seconds), they will behave as if they have computed a weighted average of these respective durations. In the current article, we argue that this effect, referred to as "temporal averaging", can be understood within the context of Bayesian Decision Theory. Specifically, we propose and provide preliminary data showing that, when averaging, rats weight different durations based on the relative variability of the information their respective cues provide.

Keywords: Bayesian; Interval timing; cue combination; cue integration; maximum likelihood estimation; multisensory integration; temporal averaging; time perception.