Decisional carryover effects in interval timing: evidence of a generalized response bias

Jordan J. Wehrman*, John Wearden, Paul Sowman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Decisional carryover refers to the tendency to report a current stimulus as being similar to a prior stimulus. In this article, we assess decisional carryover in the context of temporal judgments. Participants performed a temporal bisection task wherein a probe between a long and short reference duration (Experiment 1) was presented on every trial. In Experiment 2, every other trial presented a duration the same as the short or long reference duration. In Experiment 3, we concurrently varied both the size and duration of stimuli. Experiment 1 demonstrated the typical decisional carryover effect in which the current response was assimilated towards the prior response. In Experiment 2, this was not the case. Conversely, in Experiment 2, we demonstrated decisional carryover from the prior probe decision to the reference duration trials, a judgment which should have been relatively easy. In Experiment 3, we found carryover in the judgment of both size and duration, and a tendency towards decisional carryover having a larger effect size when participants were making size judgments. Together, our findings indicate that decisional carryover in duration judgments occur given relatively response-certain trials and that this effect appears to be similar in both size and duration judgments. This suggest that decisional carryover is indeed decisional in nature, rather than due to assimilative effects in perception, and that the difficulty of judging the previous test stimuli may play a role in whether assimilation occurs in the following trial when judging duration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2147–2164
    Number of pages18
    JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
    Issue number4
    Early online date2 Jan 2020
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020


    • adaptation and aftereffects
    • categorization
    • decision making
    • duration judgment
    • carryover
    • time perception
    • temporal bisection
    • sequential processing


    Dive into the research topics of 'Decisional carryover effects in interval timing: evidence of a generalized response bias'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this