Decoding the rich temporal dynamics of complex sounds such as speech is constrained by the underlying neuronal-processing mechanisms. Oscillatory theories suggest the existence of one optimal perceptual performance regime at auditory stimulation rates in the delta to theta range (< 10 Hz), but reduced performance in the alpha range (10–14 Hz) is controversial. Additionally, the widely discussed motor system contribution to timing remains unclear. We measured rate discrimination thresholds between 4 and 15 Hz, and auditory-motor coupling strength was estimated through a behavioral auditory-motor synchronization task. In a Bayesian model comparison, high auditory-motor synchronizers showed a larger range of constant optimal temporal judgments than low synchronizers, with performance decreasing in the alpha range. This evidence for optimal processing in the theta range is consistent with preferred oscillatory regimes in auditory cortex that compartmentalize stimulus encoding and processing. The findings suggest, remarkably, that increased auditory-motor synchronization might extend such an optimal range towards faster rates.
- Auditory-motor synchronization
- Perceptual constraints
- Temporal sensitivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)