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Working memory for time intervals in auditory rhythmic sequences

Lookup NU author(s): Sundeep Teki, Professor Tim GriffithsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The brain can hold information about multiple objects in working memory. It is not known, however, whether intervals of time can be stored in memory as distinct items. Here, we developed a novel paradigm to examine temporal memory where listeners were required to reproduce the duration of a single probed interval from a sequence of intervals. We demonstrate that memory performance significantly varies as a function of temporal structure (better memory in regular vs. irregular sequences), interval size (better memory for sub- vs. supra-second intervals), and memory load (poor memory for higher load). In contrast memory performance is invariant to attentional cueing. Our data represent the first systematic investigation of temporal memory in sequences that goes beyond previous work based on single intervals. The results support the emerging hypothesis that time intervals are allocated a working memory resource that varies with the amount of other temporal information in a sequence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Teki S, Griffiths TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

Year: 2014

Volume: 5

Online publication date: 19/11/2014

Acceptance date: 02/11/2014

Date deposited: 28/08/2015

ISSN (electronic): 1664-1078

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01329

PubMed id: 25477849


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Funder referenceFunder name
091593Wellcome Trust
091681Wellcome Trust