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  The rhythm of cognition: Effects of an auditory beat on oculomotor control in reading and sequential scanning

Lange, E. B., Pieczykolan, A., Trukenbrod, H. A., & Huestegge, L. (2018). The rhythm of cognition: Effects of an auditory beat on oculomotor control in reading and sequential scanning. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 11(2): 9. doi:10.16910/jemr.11.2.9.

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Lange 2018-the rhythm.pdf (Publisher version), 437KB
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Lange 2018-the rhythm.pdf
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2018
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Copyright (c) 2018 Elke B. Lange, Aleksandra Pieczykolan, Hans A. Trukenbrod, Lynn Huestegge

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 Creators:
Lange, Elke B.1, Author           
Pieczykolan, Aleksandra2, Author
Trukenbrod, Hans A.3, Author
Huestegge, Lynn2, Author
Affiliations:
1Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society, ou_2421696              
2University of Würzburg, External Organizations, Würzburg, DE, ou_67206              
3University of Potsdam , Potsdam, DE, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: reading; visual-scanning; eye movements control; background music
 Abstract: Eye-movement behavior is inherently rhythmic. Even without cognitive input, the eyes never rest, as saccades are generated 3 to 4 times per second. Based on an embodied view of cognition, we asked whether mental processing in visual cognitive tasks is also rhythmic in nature by studying the effects of an external auditory beat (rhythmic background music) on saccade generation in exemplary cognitive tasks (reading and sequential scanning). While in applied settings background music has been demonstrated to impair reading comprehension, the effect of musical tempo on eye-movement control during reading or scanning has not been investigated so far. We implemented a tempo manipulation in four steps as well as a silent baseline condition, while participants completed a text reading or a sequential scanning task that differed from each other in terms of underlying cognitive processing requirements. The results revealed that increased tempo of the musical beat sped up fixations in text reading, while the presence (vs. absence) of the auditory stimulus generally reduced overall reading time. In contrast, sequential scanning was unaffected by the auditory pacemaker. These results were supported by additionally applying Bayesian inference statistics. Our study provides evidence against a cognitive load account (i.e., that spare resources during low-demand sequential scanning allow for enhanced processing of the external beat). Instead, the data suggest an interpretation in favor of a modulation of the oculomotor saccade timer by irrelevant background music in cases involving highly automatized oculomotor control routines (here: in text reading).

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-08-20
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.16910/jemr.11.2.9
 Degree: -

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Title: Journal of Eye Movement Research
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Bern : JEMR
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 11 (2) Sequence Number: 9 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1995-8692