The Musician Redefined: A Behavioral Assessment of Rhythm Perception in Professional Club DJs

in Timing & Time Perception
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Studies of musical training demonstrate functional advantages in rhythm tasks that result from enriched auditory experience. Anatomical correlates exist in brain areas involved in auditory perception, speech processing, motor control, attention, and emotion. However, these studies fail to include many classes of musicians that might undergo experience-related change. The current study examined rhythm processing in professional disc jockeys (DJs) who routinely engage in temporally-demanding tasks during practice and performance. In Experiment 1, DJs outperformed controls at detecting a deviation in a rhythmic pattern, and were no different than trained percussionists. In Experiment 2, participants receiving one week of DJ training trended toward outperforming untrained participants on this same measure. Across experiments, movement improved detection of rhythmic deviations, providing evidence of privileged auditory-motor connections, and underscoring the importance of motor areas to rhythm perception. It is clear that DJs show experience-dependent changes in perception that are comparable to more traditional musicians.

The Musician Redefined: A Behavioral Assessment of Rhythm Perception in Professional Club DJs

in Timing & Time Perception

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References

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Figures

  • View in gallery

    A representation of the stimulus sequence presented in Experiments 1 and 2. Large and small squares represent downbeats and upbeats, respectively. The target stimulus at the end of the sequence is denoted with an arrow. Participants entrained to the acoustic stimuli (grey boxes) and were asked to judge whether the target stimulus presented following a period of silence (white boxes) occurred on-time, or too early.

  • View in gallery

    Mean sensitivity (d′) of participants in Experiment 1 to different temporal offsets in a rhythmic sequence. Sensitivity measures are presented for DJs (circles), percussionists (squares), and control subjects (triangles), in the movement (solid) and no-movement (dashed) conditions.

  • View in gallery

    Mean sensitivity (d′) of participants in Experiment 2 to different temporal offsets in a rhythmic sequence. Panel A shows the sensitivity of participants before (filled symbols) and after (open symbols) receiving DJ training. Panel B shows the sensitivity of control subjects at baseline (filled symbols) and follow-up (open symbols) measures. In both panels, data are presented from the movement (solid lines) and no-movement (dashed lines) conditions.

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