Experimental Brain Research

, 198:339 | Cite as

Multisensory integration of drumming actions: musical expertise affects perceived audiovisual asynchrony

  • Karin PetriniEmail author
  • Sofia Dahl
  • Davide Rocchesso
  • Carl Haakon Waadeland
  • Federico Avanzini
  • Aina Puce
  • Frank E. Pollick
Research Article


We investigated the effect of musical expertise on sensitivity to asynchrony for drumming point-light displays, which varied in their physical characteristics (Experiment 1) or in their degree of audiovisual congruency (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, 21 repetitions of three tempos × three accents × nine audiovisual delays were presented to four jazz drummers and four novices. In Experiment 2, ten repetitions of two audiovisual incongruency conditions × nine audiovisual delays were presented to 13 drummers and 13 novices. Participants gave forced-choice judgments of audiovisual synchrony. The results of Experiment 1 show an enhancement in experts’ ability to detect asynchrony, especially for slower drumming tempos. In Experiment 2 an increase in sensitivity to asynchrony was found for incongruent stimuli; this increase, however, is attributable only to the novice group. Altogether the results indicated that through musical practice we learn to ignore variations in stimulus characteristics that otherwise would affect our multisensory integration processes.


Synchrony perception Audiovisual integration Audiovisual congruency Drumming actions Musical expertise 



This work was supported by a grant from the British Academy (LRG-42455). We would like to thank Melanie Russell for her contribution during the pilot phase of this study and Gerry Rossi of Strathclyde University for his help in recruiting the jazz drummers. We also would like to thank Jim Kay and Michael Kubovy for their valuable suggestions on data analysis and statistical methods.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Petrini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sofia Dahl
    • 2
  • Davide Rocchesso
    • 3
  • Carl Haakon Waadeland
    • 4
  • Federico Avanzini
    • 5
  • Aina Puce
    • 6
  • Frank E. Pollick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK
  2. 2.Department of Media TechnologyAalborg University CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Art and Industrial DesignIUAV University of VeniceVeniceItaly
  4. 4.Department of MusicNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  5. 5.Department of Information EngineeringUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  6. 6.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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