Testing beat perception without sensory cues to the beat: the Beat-Drop Alignment Test (BDAT) Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractBeat perception can serve as a window into internal time-keeping mechanisms, auditory–motor interactions, and aspects of cognition. One aspect of beat perception is the covert continuation of an internal pulse. Of the several popular tests of beat perception, none provide a satisfying test of this faculty of covert continuation. The current study proposes a new beat-perception test focused on covert pulse continuation: The Beat-Drop Alignment Test (BDAT). In this test, participants must identify the beat in musical excerpts and then judge whether a single probe falls on or off the beat. The probe occurs during a short break in the rhythmic components of the music when no rhythmic events are present, forcing participants to judge beat alignment relative to an internal pulse maintained in the absence of local acoustic timing cues. Here, we present two large (N > 100) tests of the BDAT. In the first, we explore the effect of test item parameters (e.g., probe displacement) on performance. In the second, we correlate scores on an adaptive version of the BDAT with the computerized adaptive Beat Alignment Test (CA-BAT) scores and indices of musical experience. Musical experience indices outperform CA-BAT score as a predictor of BDAT score, suggesting that the BDAT measures a distinct aspect of beat perception that is more experience-dependent and may draw on cognitive resources such as working memory and musical imagery differently than the BAT. The BDAT may prove useful in future behavioral and neural research on beat perception, and all stimuli and code are freely available for download.

authors

publication date

  • November 2022