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A matter of time: how musical training affects time perception

Musical training has been linked to changes in early attentional and perceptual processing.

A matter of time: how musical training affects time perception

Thus, such an altered attentional and perceptual processing has enabled musicians to judge the duration differently than non-musicians. Although these claims seem intriguing, there are many questions that are not addressed yet, for example, how would the performance of musically-trained differ from that of untrained on visual and auditory temporal judgments? Is there any advantage to musically-trained person in temporal processing? To understand these questions, we thus conducted a series of Auditory and Visual Temporal Bisection Tasks on 32 musically-trained and 32 musically-untrained participants. We hypothesized that if music training modulates general sensitivity to temporal dimensions, then the temporal judgments of musically-trained participants would differ from those of untrained participants in both visual and auditory tasks. Each participant performed a total of 140 trials (70 visual and 70 auditory) in two different blocks. For each participant, a Point of Subjective Equality (PSE) was obtained for visual and auditory conditions.

The findings revealed a significant modality effect on time perception, with auditory stimuli being consistently overestimated compared to visual stimuli. Surprisingly, the musically-trained group exhibited a tendency to underestimate duration relative to the musically-untrained participants. Although these results may appear counterintuitive at first glance, a detailed analysis indicates that the length of musical training plays a significant role in modulating temporal processing within the musically-trained group.

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