Explicit Timing Differently Predicts Implicit Timing Performance in Younger and Older Adults
Temporal processing can be divided into explicit timing and implicit timing. Explicit timing tasks require participants to attend to the temporal aspects of the task, whereas in implicit timing tasks, temporal information affects performance without explicit instruction to process time. Compared to younger adults, older adults have been shown to exhibit greater variability in explicit timing, while in implicit timing, they have been shown to rely more on temporal predictions formed by the hazard function. However, the relationship between explicit and implicit timing and its age-related changes have yet to be explored. To address this issue, we collected data in which younger and older adults performed a time bisection task (i.e., explicit timing task) and a foreperiod task (i.e., implicit timing task) in a within-subjects design. Based on a Bayesian optimization framework, we hypothesized that individuals with higher variability in explicit timing would show a stronger foreperiod effect, which is an index of the degree of reliance on temporal predictions. Results showed a different relation between explicit and implicit timing in younger and older adults. In older adults, results were consistent with the hypothesis that increased variability in explicit timing was associated with a stronger foreperiod effect. In contrast, bias in the temporal representation but not variability was associated with the foreperiod effect in younger adults. Implications for the age-related difference in the relation between explicit and implicit timing are discussed.