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Peter Q Pfordresher, Peter E Keller, Iring Koch, Caroline Palmer, and Ece Yildirim (2011)

Activation of learned action sequences by auditory feedback

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18:544-549.

The present research addressed whether auditory feedback associated with a learned action sequence can activate the action representation of that sequence. Nonpianist participants learned to perform two melodies at a piano keyboard repeatedly during a trial. The participants heard feedback either from the melody they were performing (normal feedback) or from the other learned melody (termed alternate feedback). An additional tone functioned as an instruction cue to either switch melodies or continue the current melody. Following the instruction cues, participants typically paused just before switching, and paused similarly during trials with a continue cue. Participants paused longer after a continue cue when they experienced alternate rather than normal feedback. This effect was specific to instruction cues positioned at weak metrical accents—positions at which participants were less likely to switch overall. Feedback did not influence timing on switch trials. These findings indicate that influences of auditory feedback can activate learned action sequences, leading to longer latencies associated with cue evaluation.

action planning, sequence production, auditory feedback, music performance