There’s something about that groove: Rhythm improves detection of audio but not vibrotactile asynchronies
This study examined how contextual relationships in time can affect perception, specifically the influence of a regularly occurring (isochronous) rhythm on judgements of simultaneity in both the auditory and vibrotactile modalities. Using the method of constant stimuli and a two-alternative forced choice, participants were presented with pairs of pure tones played either simultaneously or with various levels of stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), and thresholds of detection (TOD) were defined as the SOA value at which participants achieved 75% accuracy. Stimuli in both modalities were nested within either: i) a regularly occurring, predictable (isochronous) rhythm ii) an irregular unpredictable (non-isochronous) rhythm, or iii) no rhythm at all. TODs were significantly reduced by the regular rhythm as compared to no rhythm, but only in the auditory modality. Also, vibrotactile conditions also showed far greater variability overall, suggesting these tasks were more difficult.
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