Time perception is involved in various cognitive functions. This study investigated the characteristics of short-term memory for event duration by examining how the length of the retention period affects inter- and intramodal duration judgment. On each trial, a sample stimulus was followed by a comparison stimulus, after a variable delay period (0. 5-5 s). The sample and comparison stimuli were presented in the visual or auditory modality. The participants determined whether the comparison stimulus was longer or shorter than the sample stimulus. The distortion pattern of subjective duration during the delay period depended on the sensory modality of the comparison stimulus but was not affected by that of the sample stimulus. When the comparison stimulus was visually presented, the retained duration of the sample stimulus was shortened as the delay period increased. Contrarily, when the comparison stimulus was presented in the auditory modality, the delay period had little to no effect on the retained duration. Furthermore, whenever the participants did not know the sensory modality of the comparison stimulus beforehand, the effect of the delay period disappeared. These results suggest that the memory process for event duration is specific to sensory modality and that its performance is determined depending on the sensory modality in which the retained duration will be used subsequently.
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