Temporal attention in the processing of short melodies: evidence from event-related potentials
Lange, K. & Heil, M. (2008). Temporal attention in the processing of short melodies: evidence from event-related potentials. Musicae Scientiae, 12(1), 7-48.
It has been speculated that temporal attention is involved in the perception of melodies within a complex tone pattern. However, it is not known so far, which processing steps are influenced. Goal of the present study was, therefore, to analyze the influence of temporal attention on the processing of single tones within a melody with behavioural and ERP measures. Participants heard a reference and a comparison melody, which could be either isochronous or non-isochronous, and had to indicate whether the pitch of a target tone was identical in the two melodies or not. When the temporal structure of the two melodies was identical, the allocation of temporal attention should improve the processing of the target tone of the comparison melody. For isochronous melodies, participants responded faster when the target tone was presented at an attended rather than at an unattended point in time. ERPs to attended target tones were associated with relatively more negative amplitudes between 140 and 220ms. It may thus be suggested that regular temporal expectancies can be used to improve the processing of melody tones by acting upon early, perceptual processing steps. For non-isochronous melodies, responding was not influenced by temporal attention and ERPs were more negative to unattended target tones. This effect may be related to the violation of a regular temporal expectancy. ...