Sensation Weighting in Duration Discrimination: A Univariate, Multivariate, and Varied-Design Study of Presentation Order Effects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Stimulus discriminability is often assessed by comparisons of two successive stimuli: a fixed standard (St) and a varied comparison stimulus (Co). Hellström’s sensation weighting (SW) model describes the subjective difference between St and Co as a difference between two weighted compounds, each comprising a stimulus and its internal reference level (ReL). The presentation order of St and Co has two important effects: Relative overestimation of one stimulus is caused by perceptual time-order errors (TOEs), as well as by judgment biases. Also, sensitivity to changes in Co tends to differ between orders StCo and CoSt: the Type B effect. In three duration discrimination experiments, difference limens (DLs) were estimated by an adaptive staircase method. The SW model was adapted for modeling of DLs generated with this method. In Experiments 1 and 2, St durations were 100, 215, 464, and 1000 ms in separate blocks. TOEs and Type B effects were assessed with univariate and multivariate analyses, and were well accounted for by the SW model, suggesting that the two effects are closely related, as this model predicts. With short St durations, lower DLs were found with the order CoSt than with StCo, challenging alternative models. In Experiment 3, St durations of 100 and 215 ms, or 464 and 1000 ms, were intermixed within a block. From the SW model this was predicted to shift the ReL for the first-presented interval, thereby also shifting the TOE. This prediction was confirmed, strengthening the SW model’s account of the comparison of stimulus magnitudes.


External organisations
  • University of Bern
  • Stockholm University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • Duration discrimination, presentation order effect, time-order error, Type B effect, sensation weighting
Original languageEnglish
JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020 Feb 8
Publication categoryResearch