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Shi, Zhuanghua; Ganzenmüller, Stephanie; Müller, Hermann J. (2013): Reducing bias in auditory duration reproduction by integrating the reproduced signal.
In: PloS one 8(4), e62065




Duration estimation is known to be far from veridical and to differ for sensory estimates and motor reproduction. To investigate how these differential estimates are integrated for estimating or reproducing a duration and to examine sensorimotor biases in duration comparison and reproduction tasks, we compared estimation biases and variances among three different duration estimation tasks: perceptual comparison, motor reproduction, and auditory reproduction (i.e. a combined perceptual-motor task). We found consistent overestimation in both motor and perceptual-motor auditory reproduction tasks, and the least overestimation in the comparison task. More interestingly, compared to pure motor reproduction, the overestimation bias was reduced in the auditory reproduction task, due to the additional reproduced auditory signal. We further manipulated the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the feedback/comparison tones to examine the changes in estimation biases and variances. Considering perceptual and motor biases as two independent components, we applied the reliability-based model, which successfully predicted the biases in auditory reproduction. Our findings thus provide behavioral evidence of how the brain combines motor and perceptual information together to reduce duration estimation biases and improve estimation reliability.