Classical Conditioned Responses to Absent Tones

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Classical Conditioned Responses to Absent Tones

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Title: Classical Conditioned Responses to Absent Tones
Author: Jürgens, Uwe; Häusler, Udo; Altenmüller, Eckart; Bangert, Marc

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Citation: Bangert, Marc, Uwe Jürgens, Udo Häusler, and Eckart Altenmüller. 2006. Classical conditioned responses to absent tones. BMC Neuroscience 7: 60.
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Abstract: Background: Recent evidence for a tight coupling of sensorimotor processes in trained musicians led to the question of whether this coupling extends to preattentively mediated reflexes; particularly, whether a classically conditioned response in one of the domains (auditory) is generalized to another (tactile/motor) on the basis of a prior association in a second-order Pavlovian paradigm. An eyeblink conditioning procedure was performed in 17 pianists, serving as a model for overlearned audiomotor integration, and 14 non-musicians. Results: During the training session, subjects were conditioned to respond to auditory stimuli (piano tones). During a subsequent testing session, when subjects performed keystrokes on a silent piano, pianists showed significantly higher blink rates than non-musicians. Conclusion: These findings suggest a tight coupling of the auditory and motor domains in musicians, pointing towards training-dependent mechanisms of strong cross-modal sensorimotor associations even on sub-cognitive processing levels.
Published Version: doi://10.1186/1471-2202-7-60
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