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The Effects of Visual Movement on Beat-Based vs. Duration-Based Temporal Perception

In: Timing & Time Perception
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Nathércia L. Torres Center for Psychology at University of Porto (CPUP), Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal

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Carlos dos Santos Luiz Polytechnic Institute ofCoimbra, Portugal

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São Luís Castro Center for Psychology at University of Porto (CPUP), Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal

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Susana Silva Center for Psychology at University of Porto (CPUP), Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal

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It is known that moving visual stimuli (bouncing balls) have an advantage over static visual ones (flashes) in sensorimotor synchronization, such that the former match auditory beeps in driving synchronization while the latter do not. This occurs in beat-based synchronization but not in beat-based purely perceptual tasks, suggesting that the advantage is action-specific. The main goal of this study was to test the advantage of moving over static visual stimuli in a different perceptual timing system – duration-based perception – to determine whether the advantage is action-specific in a broad sense, i.e., if it excludes both beat-based and duration-based perception. We asked a group of participants to perform different tasks with three stimulus types: auditory beeps, visual bouncing balls (moving) and visual flashes (static). First, participants performed a duration-based perception task in which they judged whether intervals were speeding up or slowing down; then they did a synchronization task with isochronous sequences; finally, they performed a beat-based perception task in which they judged whether sequences sounded right or wrong. Bouncing balls outperformed flashes and matched beeps in synchronization. In the duration-based perceptual task, beeps, balls and flashes were equivalent, but in beat-based perception beeps outperformed balls and flashes. Our findings suggest that the advantage of moving over static visual stimuli is grounded on action rather than perception in a broad sense, in that it is absent in both beat-based and duration-based perception.

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