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Shoot the target: assessment of the influence of the interval between training blocks on learning of multiple temporal discriminations

Grant number: 14/23805-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2015
Effective date (End): December 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal researcher:Marcelo Salvador Caetano
Grantee:Tábata Cristina da Silva
Home Institution: Centro de Matemática, Computação e Cognição (CMCC). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil


Temporal estimations are used daily by humans and non-human subjects in several daily activities. We are able to time different events when they are signaled by different stimuli in the environment. In the laboratory, the method of training multiple fixed intervals is used to investigate how we are able to learn different time intervals. Data from this procedure has shown that the order in which the different intervals are trained has an influence on what is learned, even when performance between groups with different training orders apparently is the same. When trained in blocks of several trials of the same stimulus-interval pair, subjects usually do not learn that the different stimuli signal the different interval. In the other hand, when the different pairs are intermixed in the same experimental session, the stimuli control temporal performance and subjects use them as cues to the current interval presented. The present proposal aims to describe the importance of the pause between training blocks on the strategy adopted by the participants in the task. It proposes the use of a computarized shooting task - a human analog of the peak procedure developed for studies in rodents - that uses a multiple fixed interval procedure. The results will add to what is currently known about the conditions under which discriminative stimuli acquire control over temporal performance. (AU)

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