Multimodal Temporal Perception in Musicians: Evidence for Both Segregated and Supramodal Attentional Systems?


Although musical training has been correlated with modulations of early perceptual and attentional processes, the majority of investigations neglect the possibility of cross modality enhancements. We investigated the effects of musical training by measuring spatial and temporal attention in a temporal order judgment task in auditory, visual, and crossmodal conditions with and without non-predictive cues. In Experiment 1, musicians had lower detection thresholds when compared to controls in all conditions (marginal in auditory). Experiment 2 showed mixed findings, with musicians demonstrating reduced capture from visual cues on the visual task compared to controls, and lower detection thresholds on the auditory task with visual cues. Adding spatial cues to the temporal order judgment tasks increased temporal thresholds for both groups, but only when they occurred within the same modality as the task, and not when presented in a different modality. The findings support both supramodal and segregated accounts of attentional resources.

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