An article based on my MA thesis in congitive science has been recently published: “Duration Discrimination by Musicians and Nonmuisicians“, Güçlü, B., Sevinç, E., Canbeyli R., Psychological Reports, 2011, 108, 3, 675-687. You can read the abstract below.
This study investigated the effects of stimulus modality, standard duration, sex, and laterality in duration discrimination by musicians and nonmusicians. Seventeen musicians (M age = 24.1 yr.) and 22 nonmusicians (M age = 26.8 yr.) participated. Auditory (1,000 Hz) and tactile (250 Hz) sinusoidal suprathreshold stimuli with varying durations were used. The standard durations tested were 0.5 and 3.0 sec. Participants discriminated comparison stimuli which had durations slightly longer and shorter than the standard durations. Difference limens were found by the method of limits and converted to Weber fractions based on the standard durations. Musicians had lower, i.e., better, Weber fractions than nonmusicians in the auditory modality, but there was no significant difference between musicians and nonmusicians in the tactile modality. Auditory discrimination was better than tactile discrimination. Discrimination improved when the standard duration was increased both for musicians and nonmusicians. These results support previous findings of superior auditory processing by musicians. Significant differences between discrimination in the millisecond and second ranges may be due to a deviation from Weber’s law and the discontinuity of timing in different duration ranges reported in the literature.