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Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2008 Feb;61(2):275-91.

Action planning in sequential skills: relations to music performance.

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Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Psychology, Leipzig, Germany.


The hypothesis that planning music-like sequential actions involves anticipating their auditory effects was investigated in a series of experiments. Participants with varying levels of musical experience responded to each of four colour-patch stimuli by producing a unique sequence of three taps on three vertically aligned keys. Each tap triggered a tone in most experimental conditions. Response--effect (key-to-tone) mapping was either compatible--taps on the top, middle, and bottom keys triggered high, medium, and low pitched tones, respectively--or incompatible--key-to-tone mapping was scrambled, reversed, or neutral (taps on different keys triggered the same tone). The results suggest that action planning was faster with compatible than with incompatible mappings (and faster than with no tones). Furthermore, the size of this compatibility effect grew with increasing musical experience, which suggests that improvements in auditory imagery ability that typically accompany musical training may augment the role of anticipatory auditory-effect representations during planning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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