Individual Differences in Temporal Anticipation and Adaptation During Sensorimotor Synchronization

in Timing & Time Perception
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Interpersonal coordination during musical joint action (e.g., ensemble performance) requires individuals to anticipate and adapt to each other’s action timing. Individuals differ in their ability to both anticipate and adapt, however, little is known about the relationship between these skills. The present study used paced finger tapping tasks to examine the relationship between anticipatory skill and adaptive (error correction) processes. Based on a computational model, it was hypothesized that temporal anticipation and adaptation will act together to facilitate synchronization accuracy and precision. Adaptive ability was measured as the degree of temporal error correction that participants (N = 52) engaged in when synchronizing with a ‘virtual partner’, that is, an auditory pacing signal that modulated its timing based on the participant’s performance. Anticipation was measured through a prediction index that reflected the degree to which participants’ inter-tap intervals led or lagged behind inter-onset intervals in tempo-changing sequences. A correlational analysis revealed a significant positive relationship between the prediction index and temporal error correction estimates, suggesting that anticipation and adaptation interact to facilitate synchronization performance. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that adaptation was the best predictor of synchronization accuracy, whereas both adaptation and anticipation predicted synchronization precision. Together these results demonstrate a relationship between anticipatory and adaptive mechanisms, and indicate that individual differences in these two abilities are predictive of synchronization performance.

Individual Differences in Temporal Anticipation and Adaptation During Sensorimotor Synchronization

in Timing & Time Perception



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    Overview of the adaptive timing mechanism of the virtual partner. Error correction mechanisms alter the timing of the following pacing signal event by adjusting for a proportion of the previous asynchrony. The timing of the inter-onset interval (IOI) is adjusted by a proportion (α) of the asynchrony (async.) between the previous pacing event and tap.

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    Schematic of the three tapping tasks, the measure(s) derived from each task, and the process (at the level of behavioral and underlying mechanisms) assessed by each measure.

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    Histograms displaying the distributions of (A) phase correction estimates, (B) prediction indices, and measures of synchronization performance, (C) mean asynchrony, (D) mean absolute asynchrony, and (E) coefficient of variation for isochronous trials.

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    Scatterplot of the prediction index and phase correction estimates. [Phase correction estimates were negative for four participants. These negative values may be due to bias in the estimation procedure and/or to the inclusion of a relatively fast tempo (400 ms base IOI). Previous work has shown that phase correction estimates decrease with increasing tempo (Repp et al., 2012), and that second-order phase correction can occur at fast tempi (Vorberg & Schulze, 2002). Second-order error correction increases lag-2 autocorrelation, thus lowering first-order correction estimates, and is not optimal for maximising synchronization accuracy and precision].

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