This study investigated how the temporal characteristics, particularly durations, of sounds affect the perceived duration of very short interonset time intervals (120-360 ms), which is important for rhythm perception in speech and music. In four experiments, the subjective duration of single time intervals marked by two sounds was measured utilizing the method of adjustment, while the markers' durations, amplitude difference (which accompanied the duration change), and sound energy distribution in time were varied. Lengthening the duration of the second marker in the range of 20-100 ms increased the subjective duration of the time interval in a stable manner. Lengthening the first marker tended to increase the subjective duration, but unstably; an opposite effect sometimes appeared for the shortest time interval of 120 ms. The effects of varying the amplitude and the sound energy distribution in time of either marker were very small in the present experimental conditions, thus proving the effects of marker durations per se.
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