Auditory-motor interactions in predictive timing

This work was the primary focus of my Ph.D. in the MAPLE Lab at McMaster University.

The interplay between movement and sound shapes numerous behaviours, such as foot tapping to the beat of a song or playing a musical instrument. Sensorimotor integration is critical for these tasks, allowing us to make predictions about upcoming events in time and synchronize movements in time with those predicted events. The processing of predictable timing information is tightly linked with movement, where listening to rhythmic information alone is sufficient to activate regions of the brain important for the planning and execution of movement. The focus of my Ph.D. research to date has focused on motor timing and temporal prediction, particularly how auditory-motor interactions are involved in listening to rhythmic information. My research demonstrates how movement not only interacts with the perceived timing of external auditory events, but also can objectively improve timing abilities. I have also documented ways in which sensory feedback, musical expertise and types of motor synchronization mediate this interaction. Overall my findings show that synchronizing movement with predictable auditory information can serve to improve the internal representation of timing, suggesting one reason we may move to the beat in musical settings.

For a complete copy of my Ph.D. thesis, click here.


Neural responses and motor trajectories in a synchronization task

This work is in collaboration with Brandon Paul

We conducted a study in McMaster’s LIVELab using simultaneous time-locked EEG and motion capture measures to examine both rhythmic listening abilities and synchronized movement trajectories. This study will determine whether the amount of rhythmic EEG activity can predict the variability of motion trajectories and kinematics, as well as phases of movement in sensorimotor synchronization.


Joint Synchronization in Social Partners

This work is in collaboration with Laura Cirelli

We conducted an experiment that examines joint synchronization in social adult partners. In this experiment two adults tapped on a drumpad with a metronome at a moderate tempo (IOI: 500ms) or a slow tempo (IOI: 1200ms) alone and together. We found mutual adaptation between subjects reflected by cross-correlations, where each participant adapts to the tapping of the other throughout the tapping trials. We also found that joint tapping between adult pairs leads to greater mutually predictive behaviors’ in situations where accurate synchronization is more challenging (at slow tempos). This suggests that there may be a greater dependence on a synchronizing partner when audio-motor entrainment is more difficult.