The role of auditory feedback in sequence production
Peter Pfordresher Principal Investigator
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When we speak and sing we not only produce sounds, but also hear the sounds we produce. The importance of monitoring our own sounds is dramatized by the speech of deaf persons, or the difficulty experienced when singing the national anthem in a large, reverberating hall. However, puzzling evidence from past research would suggest that perceptual feedback plays a limited role in the execution of actions. Dr. Peter Q. Pfordresher will further explore this puzzle with support from the National Science Foundation. The key question of his research is to what extent does fluency in action rely on perceiving the results of one's actions? <br/>The funded research focuses on the sounds people hear while they play melodies on the piano. In this research, participants perform short melodies from memory while listening to themselves over headphones. During certain performances, the sounds the performer hears deviate in various ways from the produced actions. For example, one might hear the wrong musical pitch when a key is pressed, might hear the correct pitch after a delay, or hear nothing at all. Past research of this sort has revealed that some deviations are more disruptive than others, and different kinds of deviations disrupt different characteristics of performance. The Broader Impacts of the funded research will ultimately include understanding the way coordination goes awry in certain disorders such as stuttering.