Naming analog clocks conceptually facilitates naming digital clocks

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This study investigates how speakers of Dutch compute and produce relative time expressions. Naming digital clocks (e.g., 2:45, say “quarter to three”) requires conceptual operations on the minute and hour information for the correct relative time expression. The interplay of these conceptual operations was investigated using a repetition priming paradigm. Participants named analog clocks (the primes) directly before naming digital clocks (the targets). The targets referred to the hour (e.g., 2:00), half past the hour (e.g., 2:30), or the coming hour (e.g., 2:45). The primes differed from the target in one or two hour and in five or ten minutes. Digital clock naming latencies were shorter with a five- than with a ten-min difference between prime and target, but the difference in hour had no effect. Moreover, the distance in minutes had only an effect for half past the hour and the coming hour, but not for the hour. These findings suggest that conceptual facilitation occurs when conceptual transformations are shared between prime and target in telling time.

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