Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Brian L. Wilson

Second Advisor

Dr. James McCarthy

Third Advisor

Dr. Gary Lawson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study attempted to determine ear advantage in a dichotic listening task involving perception of tempo modulation (decrease.or increase) within repeating rhythmic patterns at initial tempi of 80 mm or 160 mm. Ear advantage was measured by reaction times to and accuracy of modulation detection.

The subjects were thirty right-handed nonmusicians with normal hearing. The rhythms were pure tones generated in real time on an Apple II computer and presented through headphones. The subjects' task was to depress a designated computer key as soon as the modulation was detected. The computer recorded each subject's response and reaction time.

Reaction time to and accuracy of modulation detection were significant at the 160 mm initial tempo. Increases in tempi were perceived twice as accurately as decreases in tempi. Reaction time and accuracy of responses were not significant for ear and modulation or ear and initial tempo. Results showed no ear advantage for the task.