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Unattended musical beats enhance visual processing

Abstract

The present study investigated whether and how a musical rhythm entrains a listener’s visual attention. To this end, participants were presented with pictures of faces and houses and indicated whether picture orientation was upright or inverted. Participants performed this task in silence or with a musical rhythm playing in the background. In the latter condition, pictures could occur off-beat or on a rhythmically implied, silent beat. Pictures presented without the musical rhythm and off-beat were responded to more slowly than pictures presented on-beat. This effect was comparable for faces and houses. Together these results indicate that musical rhythm both synchronizes and facilitates concurrent stimulus processing.

 

Unattended musical beats enhance visual processing

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