Thresholds of Auditory-Motor Coupling Measured with a Simple Task in Musicians and Non-Musicians: Was the Sound Simultaneous to the Key PressReport as inadecuate




Thresholds of Auditory-Motor Coupling Measured with a Simple Task in Musicians and Non-Musicians: Was the Sound Simultaneous to the Key Press - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

The human brain is able to predict the sensory effects of its actions. But how precise are these predictions? The present research proposes a tool to measure thresholds between a simple action keystroke and a resulting sound. On each trial, participants were required to press a key. Upon each keystroke, a woodblock sound was presented. In some trials, the sound came immediately with the downward keystroke; at other times, it was delayed by a varying amount of time. Participants were asked to verbally report whether the sound came immediately or was delayed. Participants- delay detection thresholds in msec were measured with a staircase-like procedure. We hypothesised that musicians would have a lower threshold than non-musicians. Comparing pianists and brass players, we furthermore hypothesised that, as a result of a sharper attack of the timbre of their instrument, pianists might have lower thresholds than brass players. Our results show that non-musicians exhibited higher thresholds for delay detection 180±104 ms than the two groups of musicians 102±65 ms, but there were no differences between pianists and brass players. The variance in delay detection thresholds could be explained by variance in sensorimotor synchronisation capacities as well as variance in a purely auditory temporal irregularity detection measure. This suggests that the brain-s capacity to generate temporal predictions of sensory consequences can be decomposed into general temporal prediction capacities together with auditory-motor coupling. These findings indicate that the brain has a relatively large window of integration within which an action and its resulting effect are judged as simultaneous. Furthermore, musical expertise may narrow this window down, potentially due to a more refined temporal prediction. This novel paradigm provides a simple test to estimate the temporal precision of auditory-motor action-effect coupling, and the paradigm can readily be incorporated in studies investigating both healthy and patient populations.



Author: Floris T. van Vugt , Barbara Tillmann

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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