Sounds familiar(?): Expertise with specific musical genres modulates timing perception and micro-level synchronization to auditory stimuli
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionDanielsen, A., Nymoen, K., Langerød, M. T., Jacobsen, E., Johansson, M. & London, J. (2021). Sounds familiar(?): Expertise with specific musical genres modulates timing perception and micro-level synchronization to auditory stimuli. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-021-02393-z
Musical expertise improves the precision of timing perception and performance – but is this expertise generic, or is it tied to the specific style(s) and genre(s) of one’s musical training? We asked expert musicians from three musical genres (folk, jazz, and EDM/hip-hop) to align click tracks and tap in synchrony with genre-specific and genre-neutral sound stimuli to determine the perceptual center (“P-center”) and variability (“beat bin”) for each group of experts. We had three stimulus categories – Organic, Electronic, and Neutral sounds – each of which had a 2 × 2 design of the acoustic factors Attack (fast/slow) and Duration (short/long). We found significant effects of Genre expertise, and a significant interaction for both P-center and P-center variability: folk and jazz musicians synchronize to sounds typical of folk and jazz in a different manner than the EDM/hip-hop producers. The results show that expertise in a specific musical genre affects our low-level perceptions of sounds as well as their affordance(s) for joint action/synchronization. The study provides new insights into the effects of active long-term musical enculturation and skill acquisition on basic sensorimotor synchronization and timing perception, shedding light on the important question of how nature and nurture intersect in the development of our perceptual systems.