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Neural entrainment facilitates duplets: Frequency-tagging differentiates musicians and non-musicians when they tap to the beat

Publikation: Working paper/Preprint Preprint

  • Alexandre Celma-Miralles
  • Boris Alexander Kleber
  • Juan M. Toro, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience Group, Center of Brain and Cognition, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08018 Barcelona, Spain; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), 08010 Barcelona, Spain., Inst Catalana Recerca & Estudis Avancats, Pompeu Fabra University, ICREA
  • ,
  • Peter Vuust
Motor coordination to an isochronous beat improves when it is subdivided into equal intervals. Here, we study if this subdivision benefit (i) varies with the kind of subdivision, (ii) is enhanced in individuals with formal musical training, and (iii), is an inherent property of neural oscillations. We recorded electroencephalograms of musicians and non-musicians during: (a) listening to an isochronous beat, (b) listening to one of 4 different subdivisions, (c) listening to the beat again, and (d) listening and tapping the beat with the same subdivisions as in (b). We found that tapping consistency and neural entrainment in condition (d) was enhanced in non-musicians for duplets (1:2) compared to the other types of subdivisions. Musicians showed overall better tapping performance and were equally good at tapping together with duplets, triplets (1:3) and quadruplets (1:4), but not with quintuplets (1:5). This group difference was reflected in enhanced neural responses in the triplet and quadruplet conditions. Importantly, for all participants, the neural entrainment to the beat and its first harmonic (i.e. the duplet frequency) increased after listening to each of the subdivisions (c compared to a). Since these subdivisions are harmonics of the beat frequency, the observed preference of the brain to enhance the simplest subdivision level (duplets) may be an inherent property of neural oscillations. In sum, a tapping advantage for simple binary subdivisions is reflected in neural oscillations to harmonics of the beat, and formal training in music can enhance it.
StatusUdgivet - 2021

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