Tapping to a Very Slow Beat: A Comparison of Musicians and Nonmusicians

  • Repp B
  • Doggett R
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WHEN NONMUSICIANS TAP with isochronous auditory tone sequences, the taps typically precede the tone onsets. However, when the tone inter-onset interval (IOI) is increased beyond 2 s, an increasing proportion of taps follows the tone onsets by 150 ms or more. Such responses indicate reactions rather than anticipations, and they have been interpreted as reflecting a rate limit of synchronization related to a temporal limit of auditory working memory. In the present study, musicians and nonmusicians were asked to synchronize their taps with sequences whose IOIs ranged from 1000 to 3500 ms. Nonmusicians showed much larger anticipation errors and higher variability but actually fewer reactive responses than musicians. No clear landmarks of a rate limit for synchronization were observed.

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