Alan M. Wing1 , Michail Doumas1, 2 and Andrew E. Welchman1
Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
Department of Psychology, K. U. Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 300 Leuven, Belgium
Received: 9 July 2009 Accepted:9 December 2009 Published online: 29 December 2009
Abstract The ability to synchronise actions with environmental events is a fundamental skill supporting a variety of group activities. In such situations, multiple sensory cues are usually available for synchronisation, yet previous studies have suggested that auditory cues dominate those from other modalities. We examine the control of rhythmic action on the basis of auditory and haptic cues and show that performance is sensitive to both sources of information for synchronisation. Participants were required to tap the dominant hand index finger in synchrony with a metronome defined by periodic auditory tones, imposed movements of the non-dominant index finger, or both cues together. Synchronisation was least variable with the bimodal metronome as predicted by a maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) model. However, increases in timing variability of the auditory cue resulted in some departures from the MLE model. Our findings indicate the need for further investigation of the MLE account of the integration of multisensory signals in the temporal control of action.
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