Modulation of isochronous movements in a flexible environment: links between motion and auditory experience
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The ability to perform isochronous movements while listening to a rhythmic auditory stimulus requires a flexible process that integrates timing information with movement. Here, we explored how non-temporal and temporal characteristics of an auditory stimulus (presence, interval occupancy, and tempo) affect motor performance. These characteristics were chosen on the basis of their ability to modulate the precision and accuracy of synchronized movements. Subjects have participated in sessions in which they performed sets of repeated isochronous wrist’s flexion–extensions under various conditions. The conditions were chosen on the basis of the defined characteristics. Kinematic parameters were evaluated during each session, and temporal parameters were analyzed. In order to study the effects of the auditory stimulus, we have minimized all other sensory information that could interfere with its perception or affect the performance of repeated isochronous movements. The present study shows that the distinct characteristics of an auditory stimulus significantly influence isochronous movements by altering their duration. Results provide evidence for an adaptable control of timing in the audio–motor coupling for isochronous movements. This flexibility would make plausible the use of different encoding strategies to adapt audio–motor coupling for specific tasks.
KeywordsSensory–motor integration Audio–motor integration Isochronous movements Music
We wish to thank Drs. Sabrina Matà, Corrado Poggesi, Alberto Cassese (University of Florence, Florence, Italy), and Dr. Alberto Granato (Catholic University, Milan, Italy), for their highlighting comments and suggestions.
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