Author(s): Repp BH, Penel A
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Abstract People often move in synchrony with auditory rhythms (e.g., music), whereas synchronization of movement with purely visual rhythms is rare. In two experiments, this apparent attraction of movement to auditory rhythms was investigated by requiring participants to tap their index finger in synchrony with an isochronous auditory (tone) or visual (flashing light) target sequence while a distractor sequence was presented in the other modality at one of various phase relationships. The obtained asynchronies and their variability showed that auditory distractors strongly attracted participants' taps, whereas visual distractors had much weaker effects, if any. This asymmetry held regardless of the spatial congruence or relative salience of the stimuli in the two modalities. When different irregular timing patterns were imposed on target and distractor sequences, participants' taps tended to track the timing pattern of auditory distractor sequences when they were approximately in phase with visual target sequences, but not the reverse. These results confirm that rhythmic movement is more strongly attracted to auditory than to visual rhythms. To the extent that this is an innate proclivity, it may have been an important factor in the evolution of music.
This article was published in Psychol Res
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy