Beat perception and frequency tagging to study the neural dynamics of multisensory binding and sensorimotor synchronization
Beat is one of the most fascinating musical dimension. Feeling the beat in music refers to the spontaneous and universal ability to extract periodicities from stimuli that are not strictly periodic in reality. Through several models (synthesized in the “Dynamic attending” model, and later developed in the “Resonance theory for beat perception”), theorists have hypothesized that beat perception is subtended by an entrainment of neuronal populations at the frequency of the beat. This neuronal entrainment would allow the binding of distant cortical areas through synchrony of their activity. For example, neural activity from auditory and motor cortices, frequency-tuned to the beat, would subtend sensorimotor synchronization to the beat when listening to music. Similarly, binding by synchrony would constitute the mean by which activities from distinct sensory cortices integrate into a unique multisensory percept. In such, studying the neural mechanisms underlying beat perception constitutes a unique opportunity to study the neural dynamics of multisensory binding and sensorimotor synchronization in the human brain.