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“Deafness” effects in detecting alterations to auditory feedback during sequence production

Abstract

Past research has shown that when discrete responses are associated with a perceptual goal, performers may have difficulty detecting stimuli that are commensurate with that goal. Three experiments are reported here that test whether such effects extend to sequence production. In Experiment 1, participants performed 8-note melodies repeatedly, and on each trial a single tone could be altered with respect to its pitch and/or synchrony with actions. Results suggested a selective deficit of detection when feedback pitch was unchanged and the event was slightly delayed. Experiment 2 showed that this “deafness” to feedback is limited to rhythmic motor tasks that require sequencing, in that similar effects did not emerge when participants produced pitch sequences by tapping a single key repeatedly. A third experiment demonstrated similar results to Experiment 1 when the mapping of keys to pitches on the keyboard was reversed. Taken together, results suggest a selective deafness to response-congruent delayed feedback, consistent with the idea that performers suppress previously planned events during production.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Early asynchronies were complicated to implement. For early asynchronies that were associated with the correct (unaltered) pitch, FTAP generated normal auditory feedback for the keypress that preceded the probe position; in addition, that keypress generated a second delayed feedback event that had a MIDI pitch matching the pitch associated with the probe position. Then, when the participant pressed the key at the actual probe position, no feedback would be presented. The delay preceding the probe was set to be 66 % of the predicted IOI. Thus, participants experienced the illusion that the tone they produced occurred early (by 33 % of the IOI preceding the probe position), when in fact the tone was associated with delayed feedback, with altered pitch, from the previous keypress. A similar procedure was followed for early asynchronies combined with an altered pitch, only in such cases the pitch of delayed feedback from the preceding keypress was shifted up or down relative to the pitch intended for the probe position.

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Acknowledgments

Peter Q. Pfordresher, Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. This research was sponsored in part by NSF grants BCS-0344892 and BCS-0642592. I am grateful for the help of Lilly Flores (UTSA) and Thomas Beall-Schwab (UB) who assisted with data collection. I am also grateful for the constructive comments of Shinichi Furuya and an anonymous reviewer on an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Peter Q. Pfordresher.

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Pfordresher, P.Q. “Deafness” effects in detecting alterations to auditory feedback during sequence production. Psychological Research 78, 96–112 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-013-0477-9

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Keywords

  • Sequence Production
  • Probe Position
  • Auditory Feedback
  • Musical Training
  • Feedback Timing