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Sensori-motor synchronisation variability decreases as the number of metrical levels in the stimulus signal increases
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5366-1169
2014 (English)In: Acta Psychologica, ISSN 0001-6918, E-ISSN 1873-6297, Vol. 147, 10-16 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Timing performance becomes less precise for longer intervals, which makes it difficult to achieve simultaneity in synchronisation with a rhythm. The metrical structure of music, characterised by hierarchical levels of binary or ternary subdivisions of time, may function to increase precision by providing additional timing information when the subdivisions are explicit. This hypothesis was tested by comparing synchronisation performance across different numbers of metrical levels conveyed by loudness of sounds, such that the slowest level was loudest and the fastest was softest. Fifteen participants moved their hand with one of 9 inter-beat intervals (IBIs) ranging from 524 to 3125 ms in 4 metrical level (ML) conditions ranging from 1 (one movement for each sound) to 4 (one movement for every 8th sound). The lowest relative variability (SD/IBI < 1.5%) was obtained for the 3 longest IBIs (1600–3125 ms) and MLs 3–4, significantly less than the smallest value (4–5% at 524–1024 ms) for any ML 1 condition in which all sounds are identical. Asynchronies were also more negative with higher ML. In conclusion, metrical subdivision provides information that facilitates temporal performance, which suggests an underlying neural multi-level mechanism capable of integrating information across levels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 147, 10-16 p.
Keyword [en]
Auditory processing, Metre, Metrical levels, Music, Timing, Sensori-motor synchronisation
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-86603DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.10.002ISI: 000333875700003OAI: diva2:699985
Available from: 2014-03-03 Created: 2014-03-03 Last updated: 2016-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Madison, Guy
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