Oddballs, rare or novel stimuli, appear to last longer than non-oddballs. This illusion is often attributed to the perceived time that an oddball occupies being longer than that of a non-oddball. However, it is also possible that oddball stimuli are perceived to onset earlier than non-oddballs; they are “gated” earlier in time and thus the perceived duration of those stimuli are longer. In the current article, we directly investigate this proposal by asking participants to react to, produce durations initiated with, and tap along to either oddball or standard stimuli. Tapping provided some support for earlier perceived onset of an oddball in the visual modality. However, both reaction time and duration production experiments provided evidence against an oddball being gated earlier than a standard stimulus. Contrarily, these experiments showed an oddball resulted in longer reaction times and productions, respectively. Taken together, these three experiments indicate it is unlikely that the expansion of time attributed to oddball presentation is purely due to the earlier gating of oddball stimuli. In fact, the first two experiments provide some evidence that the effect of an oddball must compensate for the later gating of these stimuli.
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- reaction time methods
- temporal processing
- visual perception