An ACT-R Model of the Choose-Short Effect in Time and Length


Duration of an event tends to be underestimated as it becomes temporally distant (Spetch & Wilkie, 1983). The current study investigated this so-called choose-short effect in time and length in order to reevaluate the claim that the choose-short effect is special to temporal memory (Wearden, Parry, & Stamp, 2002). Participants made discrimination judgments in time or length on a pair of line stimuli separated by a delay. Stimulus presented during delay was varied in time or length. A length manipulation intended to be an analogue of temporal delay induced the choose-short effect in length discrimination. We developed a computational model based on ACT-R memory mechanisms (Anderson et al., 2004) to account for the main results in both time and length. The current results indicate that domain-general memory principles could account for the seemingly unique temporal phenomenon.

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