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Timing Precision in Synchronization Tapping and Effects of Training


Nusseck,  M
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Fischer, T., Nusseck, M., & Bruhn, H. (2005). Timing Precision in Synchronization Tapping and Effects of Training. Poster presented at 8th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2005), Tübingen, Germany.

The present experiment adds another study to the experiments on negative synchronization errors: Asked to follow a leading signal by tapping, subjects tend to tap 20 to 80 ms before the physical onset of the leading signal. Little is known about the effects of training over long tapping series, although the relevance for musical performance is obvious: In concerts musical experts (e.g. drummers) don’t show any synchronization error. Two experiments were conducted with music students as subjects, who had to follow a bongo sound with an isochronous inter-stimulus-interval of ISI = 500 ms by their tapping. Each experiment consisted of four trials, lasting 1, 3, 5 and 10 minutes (about 2280 taps in each session). To investigate the effect of teaching, 8 of 13 subjects got a detailed verbal and visual feedback after each trial. Compared with the control group subjects reduced the negative synchronization error immediately. The overall effect was significant, although the subjects began all trials after the feedback again with a negative error (back-lash). The negativity was every time reduced immediately after a few taps. In the second experiment four subjects without feedback during the four trials were asked to repeat all trials in a second session one week later. They got a feedback only after having finished the 10-minute-trial within the first week. Also these subjects showed a reduced negative synchronization error as one week before. The back-lash effect could be observed, but it was not as impressing as in the first experiment. The results raise the question, whether the negative synchronization error might be endogenously generated reactions which disappear by beeing overlearnt. Further research will be conducted.