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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sequential Temporal Discrimination in Humans and Mice


Previous studies showed that humans and mice can maximize their rewards in two alternative temporal discrimination tasks by incorporating exogenous probabilities and endogenous timing uncertainty into their decisions. The current study investigated if the probabilistic relations modulated the temporal discrimination performance in scenarios with more than two temporal options. In order to address this question, we tested humans (Experiment 1) and mice (Experiment 2) in the dual-switch task , which required subjects to discriminate three time intervals (short, medium, and long durations) in a sequential fashion. The latencies of switches from short to medium and from medium to long option were the main units of analysis. The results revealed that the timing of switches between the first two options (short-to-medium) were sensitive to probabilistic information in both humans and mice. However, mice but not humans adapted the timing of their subsequent switches between the last two options (medium-to-long) based on the probabilistic information associated with these latter options. These results point at a suboptimal tendency in the temporal decisions of humans with multiple options.

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