Temporal position priming: Memory traces of recent experience bias the allocation of attention in time

Amit Yashar, Dominique Lamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Explicit expectations can guide attention toward the time at which an upcoming target is likely to appear. However, in real-life situations, explicit preknowledge of upcoming events' temporal occurrence is rarely provided. We investigated whether implicit memory traces can guide attention in time, as they guide attention to recently attended features and locations (priming of pop-out and priming of location; V. Maljkovic & K. Nakayama, 1994, Priming of pop-out: I. Role of features, Memory & Cognition, Vol. 22, pp. 657-672; V. Maljkovic & K. Nakayama, 1996, Priming of pop-out: II. The role of position, Perception & Psychophysics, Vol. 58, pp. 977-991). Using a rapid serial visual presentation task, we show a temporal position priming (TPP) effect by which search performance is speeded when the target temporal position within the visual stream happens to repeat on consecutive trials. We show that such repetition priming is one of the mechanisms that underlie the much-studied sequential effect of the foreperiod. We further demonstrate that the learned association that gives rise to TPP does not require the selection or execution of a motor response and that it affects perceptual stages of visual processing. The relations between these findings and existing accounts of the sequential effect as well as with other intertrial priming effects in visual search are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1456
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Intertrial priming
  • Rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP)
  • Sequential effect
  • Time assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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