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Exploring models of time processing: effects of training and modality, and the relationship with cognition in rhythmic motor tasks
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Timing can be defined as the ability to perceive temporal sequences and regulate timed behaviors. As in other animals, our ability to make accurate time estimations is crucial in order to accomplish several activities. Organisms can process time over a wide range of durations ranging from microseconds to days. In the middle of these extremes is the hundreds of milliseconds to seconds range which is important for many everyday behaviors, such as walking, speaking and dancing. Yet, how this is managed remains poorly understood. Some central issues with regard time processing in this particular time range are whether timing is governed by one, or by several different mechanisms, possibly invoked by different effectors used to perform the timing task, as well as, if cognitive capacities are also involved in rhythmic motor timing.

This thesis includes three studies. Study I investigated the effects of short- term practice on a motor timing task. Analyses of the timing variability indicated that a substantial amount of learning occurred in the first hour of practice and declined afterwards, exhibiting no trend for further decrease across the remaining 60 or 210 minutes. This effect was similar across effector, amount of feedback, and interval duration. Our results suggested that training effects influenced mainly motor precision and raised the question of whether motor timing training influenced also cognitive capacities.

Study II investigated the relationship between motor timing and cognition. Specifically, participants had to train a sensorimotor synchronization task (SMS) over several days, and the question was whether this training would improve cognitive performance. A near transfer effect was found between the sensorimotor synchronization task and the sustained attention task, indicating that sustained attention is involved in motor timing.

Study III compared the timing variability between the eyes and the hands, as a function of four different intervals, in order to examine whether these systems are temporally controlled by the same or different mechanism(s). The results showed several positive correlations in variability, between the eye and the finger movements, which, however, were significant only for the longer intervals. In addition, they were differences in variability between the eye and the hand, for the different interval durations.

In general, the pattern of results from these studies suggested that voluntary motor timing is managed by overlapping distributed mechanisms and that these mechanisms are related to systems that manage cognitive processes, such as attention. The results partially explain the well-known relationships between cognitive ability and timing.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 2017. , 78 p.
Keyword [en]
timing, motor timing, cogntion, dedicated models, intrinsic models, timing variability
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130755ISBN: 978-91-7601-668-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-130755DiVA: diva2:1069970
Public defence
2017-02-24, BT102, Beteendevetarhuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-02-03 Created: 2017-02-01 Last updated: 2017-02-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Effects of practice on variability in an isochronous serial interval production task: asymptotical levels of tapping variability after training are similar to those of musicians
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of practice on variability in an isochronous serial interval production task: asymptotical levels of tapping variability after training are similar to those of musicians
2013 (English)In: Acta Psychologica, ISSN 0001-6918, E-ISSN 1873-6297, Vol. 143, no 1, 119-128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Timing permeates everyday activities such as walking, dancing and music, yet the effect of short-term practicein this ubiquitous activity is largely unknown. In two training experiments involving sessions spreadacross several days, we examined short-term practice effects on timing variability in a sequential intervalproduction task. In Experiment 1, we varied the mode of response (e.g., drumstick and finger tapping) andthe level of sensory feedback. In Experiment 2 we varied the interval in 18 levels ranging from 500 ms to1624 ms. Both experiments showed a substantial decrease in variability within the first hour of practice,but little thereafter. This effect was similar across mode of response, amount of feedback, and interval duration,and was manifested as a reduction in both local variability (between neighboring intervals) and drift(fluctuation across multiple intervals). The results suggest mainly effects on motor implementation ratherthan on cognitive timing processes, and have methodological implications for timing studies that have notcontrolled for practice.

Keyword
Interval, Motor, Practice, Tapping task, Timing, Timing variability, Training
National Category
Neurosciences Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Neurology; Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-67866 (URN)10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.02.010 (DOI)000318582600016 ()23558155 (PubMedID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-04-05 Created: 2013-04-05 Last updated: 2017-02-01Bibliographically approved
2. Motor timing training improves sustained attention performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Motor timing training improves sustained attention performance
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130944 (URN)
Available from: 2017-02-01 Created: 2017-02-01 Last updated: 2017-02-01
3. Shared timing variability in eye and finger movements increases with interval duration: support for a distributed timing system below and above one second
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shared timing variability in eye and finger movements increases with interval duration: support for a distributed timing system below and above one second
2015 (English)In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, ISSN 1747-0218, E-ISSN 1747-0226, Vol. 68, no 10, 1965-1980 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The origins of the ability to produce action at will at the hundreds of millisecond to second range remain poorly understood. A central issue is whether such timing is governed by one mechanism or by several different mechanisms, possibly invoked by different effectors used to perform the timing task. If two effectors invoke similar timing mechanisms, then they should both produce similar variability increase with interval duration (interonset interval) and thus adhere to Weber's law (increasing linearly with the duration of the interval to be timed). Additionally, if both effectors invoke the same timing mechanism, the variability of the effectors should be highly correlated across participants. To test these possibilities, we assessed the behavioural characteristics across fingers and eyes as effectors and compared the timing variability between and within them as a function of the interval to be produced (interresponse interval). Sixty participants produced isochronous intervals from 524 to 1431 ms with their fingers and their eyes. High correlations within each effector indicated consistent performance within participants. Consistent with a single mechanism, temporal variability in both fingers and eyes followed Weber's law, and significant correlations between eye and finger variability were found for several intervals. These results can support neither the single clock nor the multiple clock hypotheses but instead suggest a partially overlapping distributed timing system.

Keyword
Timing, Time production, Finger movement, Millisecond to second timing variability, Eye movement
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100551 (URN)10.1080/17470218.2014.998689 (DOI)000360295200003 ()25607465 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2015-03-04 Created: 2015-03-04 Last updated: 2017-02-01Bibliographically approved

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