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J Mot Behav. 2001 Jun;33(2):127-38.

Effects of an auditory model on the learning of relative and absolute timing.

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  • 1Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4243, USA.


The effects of an auditory model on the learning of relative and absolute timing were examined. In 2 experiments, participants attempted to learn to produce a 1,000- or 1,600-ms sequence of 5 key presses with a specific relative-timing pattern. In each experiment, participants were, or were not, provided an auditory model that consisted of a series of tones that were temporally spaced according to the criterion relative-timing pattern. In Experiment 1, participants (n = 14) given the auditory template exhibited better relative- and absolute-timing performance than participants (n = 14) not given the auditory template. In Experiment 2, auditory and no-auditory template groups again were tested, but in that experiment each physical practice participant (n = 16) was paired during acquisition with an observer (n = 16). The observer was privy to all instructions as well as auditory and visual information that was provided the physical practice participant. The results replicated the results of Experiment 1: Relative-timing information was enhanced by the auditory template for both the physical and observation practice participants. Absolute timing was improved only when the auditory model was coupled with physical practice. Consistent with the proposal of D. M. Scully and K. M. Newell (1985), modeled timing information in physical and observational practice benefited the learning of the relative-timing features of the task, but physical practice was required to enhance absolute timing.

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