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J Mot Behav. 2003 Dec;35(4):355-70.

Rate limits in sensorimotor synchronization with auditory and visual sequences: the synchronization threshold and the benefits and costs of interval subdivision.

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Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT 06511-6695, USA.


Synchronization of finger taps with an isochronous event sequence becomes difficult when the event rate exceeds a certain limit. In Experiment 1, the synchronization threshold was reached at interonset intervals (IOIs) above 100 ms with auditory tone sequences (in a 1:4 tapping task) but at IOIs above 400 ms with visual flash sequences (1:1 tapping). Using IOIs above those limits, the author investigated in Experiment 2 the reduction in the variability of asynchronies that tends to occur when the intervals between target events are subdivided by additional identical events (1:1 vs. 1:n tapping). The subdivision benefit was found to decrease with IOI duration and to turn into a cost at IOIs of 200-250 ms in auditory sequences and at IOIs of 450-500 ms in visual sequences. The auditory results are relevant to the limits of metrical subdivision and beat rate in music. The visual results demonstrate the remarkably weak rhythmicity of (nonmoving) visual stimuli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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