Visual feedback is not important for bimanual human interval timing

Abstract

The clock variance of intervals produced by one finger is reduced when that finger taps along with another finger (termed the bimanual advantage). The multiple-timekeeper model proposes a coupling of internal clocks, leading to reduced clock variance for bimanual timing. Alternatively, reduced variance for bimanual timing could result from additional sensory feedback from two fingers as opposed to one. We aimed to test the role of visual feedback in reducing temporal variability. Participants tapped unimanually and bimanually (with no table contact) in three conditions: full vision, blindfolded, and with additional visual feedback provided via a mirror reflecting the right hand. We predicted that temporal variability would be reduced for tapping with vision versus no vision, and when the left hand was represented by a mirror but did not actually tap. Additional, redundant visual information did not reduce temporal variability for any condition, suggesting that visual feedback is not crucial for bimanual advantage. These findings support the role of sensory feedback (namely, tactile, auditory, and proprioceptive) in reducing timekeeper variability during bimanual timing and argue against a strictly multiple-timekeeper model.

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This study was not funded by any external source.

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Correspondence to Breanna E. Studenka.

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Author Studenka declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Cummins declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Myers declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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Studenka, B.E., Cummins, D.L. & Myers, K. Visual feedback is not important for bimanual human interval timing. Psychological Research 85, 857–864 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01287-3

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