Motor Activity Improves Temporal Expectancy

Fautrelle, Lilian; Mareschal, Denis; French, Robert; Addyman, Caspar and Thomas, Elizabeth. 2015. Motor Activity Improves Temporal Expectancy. PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0119187. ISSN 1932-6203 [Article]

Fautrelle et al. - 2015 - Motor Activity Improves Temporal Expectancy.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (421kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Certain brain areas involved in interval timing are also important in motor activity. This raises the possibility that motor activity might influence interval timing. To test this hypothe- sis, we assessed interval timing in healthy adults following different types of training. The pre- and post-training tasks consisted of a button press in response to the presentation of a rhythmic visual stimulus. Alterations in temporal expectancy were evaluated by measuring response times. Training consisted of responding to the visual presentation of regularly appearing stimuli by either: (1) pointing with a whole-body movement, (2) pointing only with the arm, (3) imagining pointing with a whole-body movement, (4) simply watching the stimulus presentation, (5) pointing with a whole-body movement in response to a target that ap- peared at irregular intervals (6) reading a newspaper. Participants performing a motor activity in response to the regular target showed significant improvements in judgment times compared to individuals with no associated motor activity. Individuals who only imagined pointing with a whole-body movement also showed significant improvements. No im- provements were observed in the group that trained with a motor response to an irregular stimulus, hence eliminating the explanation that the improved temporal expectations of the other motor training groups was purely due to an improved motor capacity to press the response button. All groups performed a secondary task equally well, hence indicating that our results could not simply be attributed to differences in attention between the groups. Our results show that motor activity, even when it does not play a causal or corrective role, can lead to improved interval timing judgments.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

This work was funded by Economic and Social Research Council (UK) grant RES-062-23-0819 and Agence National de la Recherche grant -10-ORAR-006-03 as part of the ORA international collaboration initiative. DM is supported in part by a Royal Society Wolfson research merit award. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



25 March 2015Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

08 Jan 2016 13:22

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:05

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)