Exp Brain Res. 2016 Nov 16;
Previous study has shown that short training (15 min) for explicitly discriminating temporal intervals between two paired auditory beeps, or between two paired tactile taps, can significantly improve observers' ability to classify the perceptual states of visual Ternus apparent motion while the training of task-irrelevant sensory properties did not help to improve visual timing (Chen and Zhou in Exp Brain Res 232(6):1855-1864, 2014). The present study examined the role of 'consolidation' after training of temporal task-irrelevant properties, or whether a pure delay (i.e., blank consolidation) following pretest of the target task would give rise to improved ability of visual interval timing, typified in visual Ternus display. A procedure of pretest-training-posttest was adopted, with the probe of discriminating Ternus apparent motion. The extended implicit training of timing in which the time intervals between paired auditory beeps or paired tactile taps were manipulated but the task was discrimination of the auditory pitches or tactile intensities, did not lead to the training benefits (Exps 1 and 3); however, a delay of 24 h after implicit training of timing, including solving 'Sudoku puzzles,' made the otherwise absent training benefits observable (Exps 2, 4, 5 and 6). The above improvements in performance were not due to a practice effect of Ternus motion (Exp 7). A general 'blank' consolidation period of 24 h also made improvements of visual timing observable (Exp 8). Taken together, the current findings indicated that sleep-dependent consolidation imposed a general effect, by potentially triggering and maintaining neuroplastic changes in the intrinsic (timing) network to enhance the ability of time perception.