FLEXIBILITY OF TEMPORAL EXPECTATIONS FOR TRIPLE SUBDIVISION OF A BEAT
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When tapping in synchrony with an isochronous sequence of beats, participants respond automatically to an unexpectedly early or late beat by shifting their next tap; this is termed the 'phase correction response' (PCR). A PCR has also been observed in response to unexpected perturbations of metrical subdivisions of a beat, which suggests that participants have temporal expectancies for subdivisions to occur at particular time points. It has been demonstrated that a latent temporal expectancy at 1/2 of the inter-beat interval (IBI) exists even in the absence of explicit duple subdivision in previous IBIs of a sequence. The present study asked whether latent expectancies at 1/3 and 2/3 of the IBI can be induced by a global experimental context of triple subdivision, and whether a local context of consistently phase-shifted triple subdivisions can induce different expectancies. Using the PCR as the dependent variable, we find weak evidence for latent expectancies but strong evidence for context-induced shifts in expectancies. These results suggest that temporal referents between beats, which typically are linked to simple ratios of time spans, are flexible and context-dependent. In addition, we show that the PCR, a response to expectancy violation, is independent of and sometimes contrary to the simultaneous phase adaptation required by a change in subdivision timing.
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