Finney, S.A. (1999). Disruptive effects of delayed auditory feedback on motor sequencing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Brown University. (Bill Warren, advisor).

Lashley (1951) argued that accounting for the correct execution of long sequences of planned actions is one of the central problems of cognition. One major question is the role of feedback (i.e., perceptual consquences of action) in the execution of such sequences. Although Lashley argued that rapid sequences must be centrally programmed, the robust impairment caused by delayed auditory feedback (DAF) has been used to argue for a role of feedback There is, however, a bit of a paradox. Although DAF robustly impairs performance in all these domains, auditory feedback itself appears not to be necessary for an adequate level of performance (although fine control may suffer). In fact, the impairing effects of delayed auditory feedback have remained a puzzle, inadequately explained by standard theories of stimulus chaining or feedback guidance. In this dissertation, I report on a set of experiments involving delayed auditory feedback and rhythmic tapping, and show that the results are incompatible with two more recent proposals for DAF, the Displaced Rhythm Hypothesis of Howell, Powell, and Khan (1983), and the Node Structure Theory of MacKay (1987). I then advance a new class of DAF theories based on the idea that subjects are attempting to entrain to the delayed stimuli.

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