Exploring Visual Attention in Musicians: Temporal, Spatial and Capacity Considerations


Considerable evidence converges on how attention can be modulated through training (e.g., video game playing). While previous research suggests that musical training can modulate early perceptual and attentional processes, no single investigation to date has been conducted on the same participants to measure specific mechanisms of attention (temporal, spatial, and capacity) in musicians. In Experiment 1 we used a temporal order judgment (TOJ) task with both exogenous and endogenous cues in order to measure temporal and spatial attention. In Experiment 2, a cued-target detection task was presented with a concurrent high load task to assess capacity processing in musicians. Of the three measures, musicians performed better than controls on two, demonstrating a lower threshold for judging temporal order in addition to increased capabilities to process distracting information despite attentional resources being largely depleted. Together, these results provide novel findings on multiple aspects of attention in musicians.

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