Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. Jessica Grahn

Abstract

The ability to perceive and produce a beat is believed to be universal in humans, but there are factors that may give rise to individual differences. The research presented in this dissertation examined four factors that may influence beat processing and sensorimotor synchronization performance: 1) expertise: in music and dance, 2) training style: percussive and nonpercussive, 3) stimulus modality: auditory and visual, and 4) movement type: effector-specific or whole-body. Chapter 2 examined how percussive and nonpercussive music and dance training influence beat perception and production performance using an auditory beat perception task and a finger tapping beat production task. Chapter 3 also examined how percussive and nonpercussive music and dance training influence beat perception and production performance, but using an audiovisual variant of the beat perception task, and a knee bending beat production task recorded with motion capture to assess whole-body movements. Chapters 4 and 5 examined how music and dance training interact with the auditory and visual modalities to influence audiovisual integration measured using a just-noticeable-difference task, and audiovisual synchronization measured using a bimodal target-distractor synchronization task. In Chapter 4, sensorimotor synchronization was tested with finger tapping, whereas in Chapter 5 sensorimotor synchronization was tested with knee bending. Broadly, the data showed that 1) beat processing and sensorimotor synchronization performance differ among musicians, dancers, and their non-musician/non-dancer counterparts, 2) training style did not significantly influence beat perception and production, as performance did not significantly differ between percussionists and nonpercussionists, 3) musicians were biased toward the auditory modality, whereas dancers were biased toward the visual modality when synchronizing to bimodal sequences, and 4) musicians performed better with finger movements, while dancers performed better with whole-body movements. The research presented in this dissertation demonstrate how music and dance—similar, yet different types of training—may affect beat processing and sensorimotor synchronization abilities.


Share

COinS