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Does Rapid Auditory Stimulation Accelerate an Internal Pacemaker? Don’t Bet on It

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Several interesting studies in the literature have demonstrated that a temporal interval coinciding with or following a rapid sequence of auditory stimuli is subjectively lengthened relative to a baseline interval without such rapid auditory stimulation (RAS). It has also been found that an interval preceding RAS is subjectively shortened. These effects have been attributed to acceleration of an internal pacemaker by RAS. The present study used musically trained participants in two experiments, similar to some reported in the literature. In Experiment 1, rapid chromatic scales preceded, followed, or intervened between two empty intervals that had to be compared. In Experiment 2, a series of comparison intervals, each preceded by a series of rapidly repeated tones, had to be compared to a memorized standard interval. Neither experiment yielded any effects of RAS relative to a control condition without RAS. These negative results raise questions about the conditions under which RAS affects interval judgment, and whether pacemaker acceleration is the correct explanation for these effects when they do occur.

Affiliations: 1: 1Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; 2: 2Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; 3: 3Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

10.1163/22134468-00002001
/content/journals/10.1163/22134468-00002001
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/content/journals/10.1163/22134468-00002001
2013-01-01
2016-12-10

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