Feeling the beat: an investigation into the neural correlates of vibrotactile beat perception
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 08:46 by Sean A. Gilmore
The current study investigates our ability to perceive and synchronize movements to the beat of rhythms presented through vibrations to the skin. I compared EEG recordings and tapping accuracy to rhythms that varied in modality: auditory-only, vibrotactile, multimodal (vibrotactile and auditory) and complexity: metronome and simple rhythms. The neural data showed that signals localized to the primary auditory cortex showed a larger spike in power at beat frequencies presentation of auditory compared to vibrotactile rhythms. Tapping ability was found to be lowest in vibrotactile compared to auditory and multimodal rhythms. Auditory only and multimodal rhythms did not show a statistical difference in the neural or tapping data. Tapping variability predicted neural entrainment, such that more variable tapping elicited a more entrained neural signal in primary auditory cortex, and less in pre-motor regions. In conclusion, these results show how the temporal processing of rhythm is superior in auditory modalities.