ASA 124th Meeting New Orleans 1992 October

1pPP8. Tempo sensitivity in auditory sequences.

Carolyn Drake

Marie-Claire Botte

Clarisse Baruch

Lab. de Psychol. Experimentale, 28 rue Serpente, 75006, Paris, France

Differential thresholds for 11 tempi (ranging from 100 to 1500 ms between successive onsets) were measured for four subjects using a 2AFC paradigm. In a first experiment, the number of events in the sequence was varied to test whether sensitivity is greater in regularsequences than in simple duration discrimination tasks (only two events). Relative jnd were: (1) optimal at intermediate tempi (as low as 1.5% in the range between 300--800 ms), and (2) decreased as the number of events increased (2 events=6%, 3 events=4%, 5 events=3.2%, 7 events=3%). A second experiment tested whether this higher sensitivity was due to the fact that the sequences were regular or not by measuring differential tempo thresholds for irregular sequences of five events. Globally, sensitivity for these irregular sequences was of an intermediate level between that of the simple duration task and the sequences with five regular events. The results are discussed in terms of the hypothesized ``regularity detectors.''