Influence of a rhythmic context on the foreperiod effect: Behavioral and eye-tracking evidence for rhythmic facilitation but not for entrainment
Presenter Name:Rafael Román-Caballero
School/Affiliation:University of Granada (Spain)
Co-Authors:Elisa Martín-Arévalo, Laurel J. Trainor, and Juan Lupiáñez
Attention fluctuates over time. Models such as Dynamic Attending Theory propose that attention follows an oscillatory pattern that can be entrained by exogenous stimulations. Moreover, the passage of time itself when there is the certainty that the target will appear after an interval (i.e., foreperiod) can be used to support attention. As the probability that an event will occur given that it has not yet occurred increases over time, reaction time (RT) decreases as the foreperiod becomes longer. The present study aims at investigating the modulating effect of rhythms over the foreperiod effect in behavioral outcomes (RTs and accuracy) and eye-tracker measures (pupil size). We used a typical variable foreperiod paradigm wherein participants had to discriminate whether a target tone was higher or lower in pitch compared to a sequence of previous standard tones, presented either isochronously (i.e., fixed block) or non-isochronously (i.e., variable). After the sequence, the target could appear in different in-phase or out-phase temporal positions. Apart from a robust behavioral and eye-tracking foreperiod effect, the presence of a rhythm before the target produced overall faster responses, and a smaller pupil size with more flexible dynamics (i.e., a steeper increase of the diameter just before the target). However, these modulations were observed regardless of the appearance of the target in phase or out of phase (i.e., no oscillatory pattern). These results are discussed in the context of previous studies that failed and succeeded to observe an entrainment effect.