• Event-related potentials (ERPs);
  • Target-to-target interval (TTI);
  • Nontarget-to-nontarget interval (NNI);
  • Sequence effects;
  • Interstimulus interval (ISI);
  • P300


This study examined temporal determinants of the P300 component of the ERP in a three-stimulus visual oddball task. Frequent standards, with equiprobable targets and infrequent nontargets, were utilized. We tested whether the infrequent nontarget-to-nontarget interval (infrequent NNI) influences P300 amplitudes and latencies analogously to the target-to-target interval (TTI). EEG was recorded from 27 participants, and response time and P300 effects of TTIs and infrequent NNIs were assessed. Increases in TTI augmented target P300 amplitudes and decreased latencies and response times. However, this modulation of P300 amplitude was weak for manipulations of infrequent NNI. P300 latencies increased initially before decreasing across infrequent NNI levels. Together, these findings support the notion that the P300 has an underlying temporal mechanism that is modulated by motivationally significant events. Theoretical implications are discussed.