Hemispheric Asymmetry in the Matching of Melodies to Rhythm Sequences Tapped in the Right and Left Palms

Michael W. O'Boyle, Marion Sanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the ability of the cerebral hemispheres to match rhythm sequences tapped in the palms of the hands to tape-recorded melodies. Reaction time (RT) for same/different judgments and accuracy of responses served as the dependent measures. In Experiment 1, for the RT data, a left palm/right hemisphere (LP/RH) advantage was found in the ability to match tapped rhythms to tape-recorded melodies, but only on Different trials. On Same trials (which were found to be somewhat easier), both hemispheres were equally efficient at making such comparisons. In Experiment 2, there was no reliable difference between the LP/RH and the RP/LH in the ability to match tapped rhythms to tape-recorded rhythm sequences which were devoid of melodic intonation (i.e., the sound of two blocks of wood struck together in a specified rhythm). The results of these experiments taken in composite lend support to the contention that the right hemisphere advantage typically reported for the processing of musical stimuli is primarily related to pitch and/or intonation rather than rhythm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalCortex
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988

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