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Justin J Couchman, Robertson Beasley, and Peter Q Pfordresher (2012)

The experience of agency in sequence production with altered auditory feedback

Consciousness and Cognition, 21(1):186-203.

When speaking or producing music, people rely in part on auditory feedback - the sounds associated with the performed action. Three experiments investigated the degree to which alterations of auditory feedback (AAF) during music performances influence the experience of agency (i.e., the sense that your actions led to auditory events) and the possible link between agency and the disruptive effect of AAF on production. Participants performed short novel melodies from memory on a keyboard. Auditory feedback during performances was manipulated with respect to its pitch contents and/or its synchrony with actions. Participants rated their experience of agency after each trial. In all experiments, AAF reduced judgments of agency across conditions. Performance was most disrupted (measured by error rates and slowing) when AAF led to an ambiguous experience of agency, suggesting that there may be some causal relationship between agency and disruption. However, analyses revealed that these two effects were probably independent. A control experiment verified that performers can make veridical judgments of agency.

 

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