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Poster E98

Eyes tap to beats: Proactive sensing in music listening

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Yi Du1,2,4 (, Yiyang Wu1,2, Xiangbin Teng3; 1Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 3Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 4Chinese Institute for Brain Research

Listening to music is an active, anticipatory process involving the brain and body's synchronization with rhythms to facilitate the processing of musical stimuli. Although the motor system's role in this process has been acknowledged, its specific contribution remains to be fully elucidated. Through a series of experiments, which included behavioral analysis, eye tracking, and electroencephalogram (EEG) assessments, we identified a novel phenomenon termed 'eye tapping.' This reflexive synchronization of involuntary eye blinks with musical beats mirrors the well-known action of finger tapping. Remarkably, such synchronization persists even without melody, and correlates with the detection accuracy of on-beat overtones, indicating that 'eye tapping' may play a part in attentional sampling and processing at crucial moments within the music. Our study also revealed a significant mutual information between the timing of eye blinks and the power of neural oscillations at the beat's frequency. Additionally, we observed a predictive increase in the weight of the EEG's temporal response function preceding an eye blink. These findings align with both the Dynamic Attending Theory and Active Sensing Theory, suggesting that eye blinks not only coincide with neural entrainment but also conform to temporal structures shaped by musical rhythms, thereby assisting in the temporal prediction and processing of musical events. This research significantly advances our understanding of proactive, cross-modal sensing during music listening, highlighting the intricate interplay between auditory perception and motor responses.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition


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