Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Professor A.B. Kristofferson


This research deals with the coding of brief empty time intervals bounded by very brief auditory markers. From the results of two experiments it is concluded that the discrimination between two brief durations within the range .05 to .3 seconds is not based on the energy content of the stimulus pattern defining the durations. At the same time, this evidence supports the view that a central process codes time information, independently of the sensory events bounding the internal interval. This basic approach is involved in three mathematical models for duration discrimination which differ in their assumptions about the nature of this central process and in their predictions concerning the change in the discriminability of a pair of intervals T and T+ΔT as the base duration T increases. The data from four experiments are analyzed in detail with respect to each of these models. None is completely adequate in describing the functional relation between discriminability and base duration, but only one (Creelman's model) can be definitely rejected.

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