Chord-priming effects were investigated in a related-prime condition, an unrelated-prime condition, and a control condition in which a noise was presented instead of a prime chord. Ten participants listened to a sequence consisting of a prime (a chord or a noise) and a target chord and then decided whether the target chord was in tune or out of tune. The interonset intervals between the prime and target chords were varied at either 1,3, or 7 s, whereas the duration of the chords or noises was fixed at 500 ms. Responses were significantly slower with lower accuracy in the unrelated-prime condition than in the control condition, whereas responses were not significantly faster in the related-prime condition than in the control condition. The delay in the unrelated-prime condition was found at interonset intervals of 1 and 3 s, but the delay almost disappeared at the longest interonset interval of 7 s. These results cannot be fully explained by a spreading activation model that assumes a facilitation effect, but rather seem to suggest that disruptive effects occur with regard to the sensitivity to chordal tuning.
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