Mari Ries Jones’s “Dynamic Attentional Theory” (DAT) has become the predominant theoretical framework used in the investigation of beat and meter perception in psychological research (for a description of the research conducted at her Ohio State University lab, see http://labs.psy.ohio-state.edu/roar/; the website includes a few PowerPoint presentations by Jones). While this theory was first presented in her article “Time, Our Lost Dimension: Toward a New Theory of Perception, Attention, and Memory” (Jones, 1976), it was the marriage of DAT with Ed Large’s oscillator model (Large & Jones, 1999) that “sealed the deal” for metric entrainment. Up to that time, most studies took a “goodness-of-fit” approach, often relying on some form of internal clock model (e.g., Povel & Essens, 1985; Parncutt’s 1994 “perceptual model of pulse salience”).
One of the most compelling aspect of the metric entrainment model of beat perception is that it is a powerful explanatory model that not only makes sense intuitively (“moving along with the music” is one of the most basic musical behavior, and entrainment is an observable phenomenon in the natural environment), but is also compatible with sophisticated theories about the communication of musical meaning (e.g., Meyer’s and Narmour’s expectation-based theories). Thus, it is not surprising that it has been embraced by psychologically-minded music theories (as represented by London’s 2004 “Hearing in Time”). The concept of entrainment has also caught the attention of several ethnomusicologists whose research had been focused on performance and embodiment (e.g., Clayton’s study of Indian music).
Review Large and Jones’s (1999) theoretical exposition and the experimental study that follows. What aspects of this work do you find most/least compelling? How are the findings “consistent with” the hypotheses derived from this theory? What are some of the limitations of the experimental design? Then, skim through Clayton and colleagues (2005). How is the concept of entrainment defined here, and how does it conform/contrast with Large and Jones’s definition? What are some of applications of the concept to music research as envisioned by Clayton and colleagues? Thinking back to Large and Jones’s experimental design, can you imagine an alternative (or complementary) experimental design that might address some of the limitations you (or the researchers) identified?
Write a preliminary response by Tuesday, September 24, 11:59 PM; the response should focus on at least one of these questions, and connect the two articles.