Focalisation on the temporal context of complex sequences
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Studies of the perception of sound sequences indicate the existence of an optimal processing rate : sequences in which sound events occur at rates within this range are processed in more depth than events within faster or slower sequences. But what happens if two sequences occur simultaneously at different rates? We investigate whether or not listeners focus preferentially on (and process in more depth) the sequence which is closest to their optimal rate. We do this by measuring the way listeners hear and synchronise with complex sequences composed of two co-occurring subsequences. In a withinsubjects design, participants completed four tasks, two perceptual and two motor. The results indicate in particular that: 1) irregularity detection was better within the sequences closest to each participant's optimal rate, 2) participants tended to synchronise with the same subsequence, and 3) a strong link between the optimal tempi was observed in all four tasks.