One clock? Investigating the Neuro-Cognitive Mechanisms of Implicit and Explicit Timing

  • Obleser, Jonas (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Herbst, Sophie (Principal Investigator (PI))

Project: DFG ProjectsDFG Individual Projects

Project Details


Timing is a core cognitive function that is still not well understood. This research proposal addresses the important question whether different timing processes, i.e. implicit and explicit timing rely on the same cognitive and neural mechanisms. Implicit timing refers to situations in which an accurate estimate of time is required, e.g. a timed reaction, but the estimate of time is not expressed overtly . Explicit timing refers to situations in which an overt time estimate is expressed, e.g. in absolute units (seconds), or as a comparison (long/short).Three experiments are planned to examine timing mechanisms from different angles. Experiment I addresses the cognitive and neural mechanisms (measured with electroencephalography, EEG) of implicit timing, by manipulating temporal predictability. Experiment II directly compares implicit and explicit timing by testing whether temporal predictability modulatesbehavioural measures similarly in both tasks. Furthermore, Experiment II targets the neuroanatomical sources of implicit and explicit timing processes by measuring magnetoencephalography (MEG). Experiment III compares implicit and explicit timing from a different angle: by using healthy ageing as a model to study cognitive and neural timing mechanisms (measured with EEG). Explicit timing abilitiesare known to change with age, and finding related changes in implicit timing would strongly argue for shared resources between both tasks. Together, this research will contribute to a clearer taxonomy of timing processes, and has the potential to reveal shared resources between implicit and explicit timing processes, which would in turn be good candidates for a core timing module. Furthermore,examining how timing abilities develop during the lifespan might reveal new diagnostic approaches to distinguish healthy ageing from pathological developments.
Effective start/end date01.01.1531.12.19

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-04 Cognitive, Systemic and Behavioural Neurobiology
  • 206-08 Cognitive and Systemic Human Neuroscience


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.