Serial dependence is the effect in which the immediately preceding trial influences participants’ responses to the current stimulus. But for how long does this bias last in the absence of interference from other stimuli? Here, we had 20 healthy young adult participants (12 women) perform a coincident timing task using different inter-trial intervals to characterize the serial dependence effect as the time between trials increases. Our results show that serial dependence abruptly decreases after 1 s inter-trial interval, but it remains pronounced after that for up to 8 s. In addition, participants’ response variability slightly decreases over longer intervals. We discuss these results in light of recent models suggesting that serial dependence might rely on a short-term memory trace kept through changes in synaptic weights, which might explain its long duration and apparent stability over time.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience