Stimulus Onset Asynchrony

Definition: Stimulus onset asynchrony describes the time period between the onset of one stimulus (S1) and the onset of the next stimulus (S2). The two stimuli may vary to a large extent in terms of similarity (e.g., S1: sound; S2: word). The stimulus onset asynchrony can be manipulated experimentally to determine the effects on dependent measures such as reaction time or brain activity, or to account for systematic physiological factors that can affect the interpretation of results.Definition: Stimulus onset asynchrony describes the time period between the onset of one stimulus (S1) and the onset of the next stimulus (S2). The two stimuli may vary to a large extent in terms of similarity (e.g., S1: sound; S2: word). The stimulus onset asynchrony can be manipulated experimentally to determine the effects on dependent measures such as reaction time or brain activity, or to account for systematic physiological factors that can affect the interpretation of results.

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References: Posner, M. I., & Cohen, Y. (1984). Components of visual orienting. Attention and Performance X: Control of Language Processes, 32, 531–556.

Related terms: Stimulus, Reaction Time, Priming, Inter-stimulus/trial interval, Jitter  

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