The Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA) is a new tool for the systematic assessment of perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills. It spans a broad range of timing skills aimed at differentiating individual timing profiles. BAASTA consists of sensitive time perception and production tasks. Perceptual tasks include duration discrimination, anisochrony detection (with tones and music), and a version of the Beat Alignment Task. Perceptual thresholds for duration discrimination and anisochrony detection are estimated with a maximum likelihood procedure (MLP) algorithm. Production tasks use finger tapping and include unpaced and paced tapping (with tones and music), synchronization-continuation, and adaptive tapping to a sequence with a tempo change. BAASTA was tested in a proof-of-concept study with 20 non-musicians (Experiment 1). To validate the results of the MLP procedure, less widespread than standard staircase methods, three perceptual tasks of the battery (duration discrimination, anisochrony detection with tones, and with music) were further tested in a second group of non-musicians using 2 down / 1 up and 3 down / 1 up staircase paradigms (n = 24) (Experiment 2). The results show that the timing profiles provided by BAASTA allow to detect cases of timing/rhythm disorders. In addition, perceptual thresholds yielded by the MLP algorithm, although generally comparable to the results provided by standard staircase, tend to be slightly lower. In sum, BAASTA provides a comprehensive battery to test perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills, and to detect timing/rhythm deficits.
Keywords: Beat deafness; Music cognition; Rhythm perception; Rhythm performance; Sensorimotor synchronization; Timing.