MultiTimeLab - Argiro Vatakis's Lab
Institution: Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Department: Department of Psychology
About the lab
Featured research (6)
Research has shown that visual moving and multisensory stimuli can efficiently mediate rhythmic information. It is possible, therefore, that the previously reported auditory dominance in rhythm perception is due to the use of nonoptimal visual stimuli. Yet it remains unknown whether exposure to multisensory or visual-moving rhythms would benefit the processing of rhythms consisting of nonoptimal static visual stimuli. Using a perceptual learning paradigm, we tested whether the visual component of the multisensory training pair can affect processing of metric simple two integer-ratio nonoptimal visual rhythms. Participants were trained with static (AVstat), moving-inanimate (AVinan), or moving-animate (AVan) visual stimuli along with auditory tones and a regular beat. In the pre-and posttraining tasks, participants responded whether two static-visual rhythms differed or not. Results showed improved posttraining performance for all training groups irrespective of the type of visual stimulation. To assess whether this benefit was auditory driven, we introduced visual-only training with a moving or static stimulus and a regular beat (Vinan). Comparisons between Vinan and Vstat showed that, even in the absence of auditory information, training with visual-only moving or static stimuli resulted in an enhanced posttraining performance. Overall, our findings suggest that audiovisual and visual static or moving training can benefit processing of nonoptimal visual rhythms.
Many investigations on the emotional responses to music focus on the use of music pieces that contain a plethora of characteristics. This multitude of characteristics hampers the detection of the specific acoustic properties that contribute to the evoked emotions. In the present study, we were interested in the potential contribution of specific acoustical parameters of consonance to induced emotions. We, therefore, manipulated consonance by creating auditory stimuli that lacked the complexity of music by being very well defined in terms of their musical and acoustical characteristics. Specifically, Stimulus Set A was manipulated as a function of musical interval and harmonicity, with frequency components that followed and did not follow the harmonic series, and musical intervals that were consonant or dissonant, while Stimulus Set C was based on a previously utilized consonance manipulation in musical pieces. A duration manipulation was also included given the changes that might occur as a stimulus unfolds in time. Using pleasantness ratings, we found that consonant musical intervals—usually perceived as pleasant—were rated as unpleasant when the component tones contained inharmonic frequencies, while dissonant intervals remained unaffected by harmonicity. These results demonstrate, for the first time, that acoustical and psychoacoustical manipulations of consonance interact and contribute to listeners’ pleasantness ratings. Α trend was observed for the duration with stimuli becoming more unpleasant as their duration increased. Subsequent qualitative comparison of our stimulus manipulation with musical excerpts showed that our stimuli were, in general, judged as less pleasant and that consonant musical excerpts were judged as more pleasant as duration increased, thus potentially pointing to the role of music completion.
Grapheme-color synesthetes experience graphemes as having a consistent color (e.g., “N is turquoise”). Synesthetes’ specific associations (which letter is which color) are often influenced by linguistic properties such as phonetic similarity, color terms (“Y is yellow”), and semantic associations (“D is for dog and dogs are brown”). However, most studies of synesthesia use only English-speaking synesthetes. Here, we measure the effect of color terms, semantic associations, and non-linguistic shape-color associations on synesthetic associations in Dutch, English, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. The effect size of linguistic influences (color terms, semantic associations) differed significantly between languages. In contrast, the effect size of non-linguistic influences (shape-color associations), which we predicted to be universal, indeed did not differ between languages. We conclude that language matters (outcomes are influenced by the synesthete’s language) and that synesthesia offers an exceptional opportunity to study influences on letter representations in different languages.
Tearful crying is a ubiquitous and likely uniquely human phenomenon. Scholars have argued that emotional tears serve an attachment function: Tears are thought to act as a social glue by evoking social support intentions. Initial experimental studies supported this proposition across several methodologies, but these were conducted almost exclusively on participants from North America and Europe, resulting in limited generalizability. This project examined the tears-social support intentions effect and possible mediating and moderating variables in a fully pre-registered study across 7007 participants (24,886 ratings) and 41 countries spanning all populated continents. Participants were presented with four pictures out of 100 possible targets with or without digitally-added tears. We confirmed the main prediction that seeing a tearful individual elicits the intention to support, d = 0.49 [0.43, 0.55]. Our data suggest that this effect could be mediated by perceiving the crying target as warmer and more helpless, feeling more connected, as well as feeling more empathic concern for the crier, but not by an increase in personal distress of the observer. The effect was moderated by the situational valence, identifying the target as part of one's group, and trait empathic concern. A neutral situation, high trait empathic concern, and low identification increased the effect. We observed high heterogeneity across countries that was, via split-half validation, best explained by country-level GDP per capita and subjective well-being with stronger effects for higher-scoring countries. These findings suggest that tears can function as social glue, providing one possible explanation why emotional crying persists into adulthood.