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Poster B58

Music-type rhythms facilitate auditory working memory

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Suizi Tian1 (; 1Peking University

Rhythm, which refers to the structured organization of events in time, is a basic and prominent feature of music. Rhythm is known to facilitate auditory perception and working memory (WM), yet previous research mainly focused on isochronous rhythms (1:1) and largely neglected other types of rhythms rich in natural music, such as small integer ratios (1:2 or 1:3) and hierarchical structures (local rhythmic patterns nested in global rhythmic patterns). Here we conducted two behavioral experiments combined with computational modelling to examine whether music-type rhythms would facilitate auditory sequence WM. In Experiment 1, human subjects retained in WM a sequence of 9 piano tones presented in music-type (1:2 or 1:3) or non-music-type rhythms (1:1.5 or 1:2.5). During recalling, a 9-tone sequence with one tone altered in pitch was played, and subjects reported whether the pitch was higher or lower than the original one. Hierarchical drift diffusion model (HDDM) fitting of behavioral results reveals that the music-type rhythm condition is associated with a lower response boundary in perceptual decision-making than the non-music-type rhythms. In Experiment 2, subjects performed the same auditory sequence WM task but with 12 tones organized in either hierarchical (2:1:1 nested in 1:1) or non-hierarchical (1:1) rhythms. Compared to the non-hierarchical rhythm condition, hierarchical rhythm had a faster reaction time (RT) and a smaller response boundary. Overall, our results provide converging evidence supporting that music-type rhythms facilitate auditory WM, which might arise from humans' innate preferred temporal structure that manifests itself in music.

Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory


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