The temporal tuning hypothesis suggests that individuals adjust the timing of cognitive performances to achieve temporal coordination of mental processes and the data on which they operate, and that this adjustment becomes more precise with practice. Participants in two experiments performed self-paced multiple-step arithmetic tasks in which the information needed for each step was briefly displayed at the participants' request. Timing constraints were manipulated by varying between subjects the delay between requests and displays of information. In Experiment 1, both operators and operands appeared step by step, and participants achieved a modest degree of temporal adjustment that did not change with practice. In Experiment 2, participants could preview operators while operands appeared step by step. In that experiment, participants achieved more precise temporal adjustment, and the amount of adjustment increased with practice. These results demonstrate the phenomenon of temporal tuning in symbolic cognitive skills and suggest some constraints on the ability to anticipate the time course of one's mental processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)