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Temporal Oscillations in Human Perception

Stanislas Dehaene
Psychological Science
Vol. 4, No. 4 (Jul., 1993), pp. 264-270
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40062554
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Temporal Oscillations in Human Perception
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Abstract

The notion that human perceptual decisions are based on discrete processing cycles rather than a continuous accumulation of information was examined experimentally. Significant periodicities were found in human response times (RT) to feature and conjunction discrimination tasks in the visual and auditory modalities. Individual RT histograms were multimodal, with regularly spaced peaks and troughs, indicating that responses were emitted more frequently at regularly recurring time intervals following stimulus presentation. On average, responses were initiated after four to seven discrete processing steps whose "quantum" duration was proportional to task difficulty.

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