We explore the effects of trained musical movements on sensorimotor interactions in order to clarify the interpretation of previously observed expertise differences. Pianists and non-pianists listened to an auditory sequence and identified whether the final event occurred in time with the sequence. In half the trials participants listened without moving, and in half they synchronized keystrokes while listening. Pianists and non-pianists were better able to identify the timing of the final tone after synchronizing keystrokes compared to listening only. Curiously, this effect of movement did not differ between pianists and non-pianists despite substantial training differences with respect to finger movements. We also found few group differences in the ability to align keystrokes with events in the auditory sequence; however, movements were less variable (lower coefficient of variation) in pianists compared to non-pianists. Consistent with the idea that the benefits of synchronization on rhythm perception are constrained by motor effector kinematics, this work helps clarify previous findings in this paradigm. We discuss these outcomes in light of training and the kinematics involved in pianist keystrokes compared to musicians synchronizing movements in other studies. We also overview how these differences across motor effector synchronization and training must be accounted for in models of perception and action.
Exploring the Effects of Effectors: Finger Synchronization Aids Rhythm Perception Similarly in Both Pianists and Non-pianists
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Fiona C. Manning, Anna Siminoski, Michael Schutz; Exploring the Effects of Effectors: Finger Synchronization Aids Rhythm Perception Similarly in Both Pianists and Non-pianists. Music Perception 1 February 2020; 37 (3): 196–207. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2020.37.3.196
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