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The relationship between musical training and the processing of audiovisual correspondences: Evidence from a reaction time task

Ihalainen, Riku, Kotsaridis, Georgios, Vivas, Ana B., Paraskevopoulos, Evangelos (2023) The relationship between musical training and the processing of audiovisual correspondences: Evidence from a reaction time task. PLOS ONE, 18 (4). Article Number e0282691. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0282691) (KAR id:100840)


Numerous studies have reported both cortical and functional changes for visual, tactile, and auditory brain areas in musicians, which have been attributed to long-term training induced neuroplasticity. Previous investigations have reported advantages for musicians in multisensory processing at the behavioural level, however, multisensory integration with tasks requiring higher level cognitive processing has not yet been extensively studied. Here, we investigated the association between musical expertise and the processing of audiovisual crossmodal correspondences in a decision reaction-time task. The visual display varied in three dimensions (elevation, symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude), while the auditory stimulus varied in pitch. Congruency was based on a set of newly learned abstract rules: “The higher the spatial elevation, the higher the tone”, “the more dots presented, the higher the tone”, and “the higher the number presented, the higher the tone”, and accuracy and reaction times were recorded. Musicians were significantly more accurate in their responses than non-musicians, suggesting an association between long-term musical training and audiovisual integration. Contrary to what was hypothesized, no differences in reaction times were found. The musicians’ advantage on accuracy was also observed for rule-based congruency in seemingly unrelated stimuli (pitch-magnitude). These results suggest an interaction between implicit and explicit processing–as reflected on reaction times and accuracy, respectively. This advantage was generalised on congruency in otherwise unrelated stimuli (pitch-magnitude pairs), suggesting an advantage on processes requiring higher order cognitive functions. The results support the notion that accuracy and latency measures may reflect different processes.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282691
Uncontrolled keywords: Acoustic Stimulation, Photic Stimulation, Auditory Perception, Reaction Time, Music
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming,
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Funders: General Secretariat for Research and Technology (
Depositing User: Suzanne Duffy
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2023 10:40 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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