Document Type



In the field of rhythm perception, research has focused on auditory-perceptual-narrowing with little focus on visual-perceptual-narrowing. The purpose of this study is to determine if the visual system narrows similarly to the auditory system, and if one sense is better at detecting rhythmic differences across cultural boundaries, e.g. Western vs. Non-Western rhythms. Using a within-subjects design participants watched videos of a woman singing the same or different Western and Balkan rhythms. The vocals were removed from the videos, leaving just the movement of the woman’s mouth. Participants watched two videos in a row containing either Western or Balkan rhythms and determined if the videos were the same or different. The behavioral data (N=24) demonstrates perceptual narrowing to the culturally familiar rhythms with a significant difference in accuracy across Balkan (65.63%) versus Western (74.48%) visual rhythms. We examined the looking patterns across the singer’s face with eye tracking during the Western versus Balkan rhythms. Eye tracking data (N=24) demonstrates a significant main effect of Dwell Time on Area of Interest. The participants looked at the mouth the majority of the time, regardless of the rhythmic condition. This indicates that visual attention alone does not lead to the perception of the visual rhythms; it is more important how the visual information is processed through perception. A sample of preterm adults (n=7) were tested for possible developmental delays in narrowing, but their data was not significantly different from the full-term adults, thus we collapsed their data into the full sample. This study supports the hypothesis that perceptual narrowing is occurring for visual rhythms with the behavioral data demonstrating difference in perception across the cultural rhythms despite no difference in visual attention to the rhythms.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Melissa Brandon, Thesis Advisor

Dr. John Calicchia, Committee Member

Dr. Joseph Schwab, Committee Member

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Included in

Psychology Commons