The Modulation of Working Memory on Number-Time Associations: Evidence from the Number Magnitude Congruency Effect

[Speaker] Fan, Zhao:1,2
[Co-author] Jing, Guomin:1,2, Ding, Xianfeng:1,2, Cheng, Xiaorong:1,2
1:Central China Normal University, P.R.China (China (People's Republic of China)), 2:Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of Education (China (People's Republic of China))

Perceived time can be distorted by numerical information in stimuli, i.e., Number-Time Associations (NTA). Recent studies suggested that the NTA occurs in the stage of temporal memory rather than time encoding. If this is true, the numerical representation in working memory (WM) is likely to modulate the NTA in subsequent temporal tasks. This is tested by requiring participants to memorize a number before reproducing a temporal interval containing a stimulus number. The NTA was observed when the magnitude of the memory number and the magnitude of the stimulus number were congruent, but not when they were incongruent-i.e., a Number Magnitude Congruency Effect (NMCE). Further experiments suggested that the NMCE is likely due to an integration of the magnitudes of the two numbers in WM and represents an indirect modulation of WM on time perception. These results shed light on how numerical and temporal information interact in WM.
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