Short-term cognitive fatigue effect on auditory temporal order judgments

Júlia Simon, Endre Takács, Gábor Orosz, Borbála Berki, István Winkler

Research output: Article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Fatigue is a core symptom in many psychological disorders and it can strongly influence everyday productivity. As fatigue effects have been typically demonstrated after long hours of time on task, it was surprising that in a previous study, we accidentally found a decline of temporal order judgment (TOJ) performance within 5–8 min. After replicating prior relevant findings we tested whether pauses and/or feedback relating the participant’s performance to some “standard” can eliminate or reduce this short-term performance decline. We also assessed whether the performance decline is specific to the processes evoked by the TOJ task or it is a product of either general inattentiveness or the lack of willingness to thoroughly follow the task instructions. We found that both feedback and introducing pauses between successive measurements can largely reduce the performance decline, and that these two manipulations likely mobilize overlapping capacities. Performance decline was not present in a similar task when controlling for the TOJ threshold and it was not a result of uncooperative behavior. Therefore, we conclude that the TOJ threshold decline is either specific to temporal processing in general or to the TOJ task employed in the study. Overall, the results are compatible with the notion that the decline of TOJ threshold with repeated measures represents a short-term cognitive fatigue effect. This objective fatigue measure did not correlate with subjective fatigue. The latter was rather related to perceived difficulty/effort, the reduction of positive affectivity, heightened sensitivity to criticism, and the best TOJ threshold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-319
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental brain research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - febr. 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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