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Perceiving rhythm where none exists: Event-related potential (ERP) correlates of subjective accenting

Author(s): D. D. Potter, M. Fenwick, D. Abecasis, R. Brochard

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that our past experience of rhythmic structure in music results in a tendency for Western listeners to subjectively accent equitonal isochronous sequences. We have shown in an earlier study that the occurrence of a slightly softer tone in the 8th to 11th position of such a sequence evokes a P300 event-related potential (ERP) response of different amplitudes depending on whether the tone occurs in putatively subjectively accented or unaccented sequence positions (Brochard et al., 2003). One current theory of rhythm processing postulates that subjective accenting is the result of predictive modulations of perceptual processes by the attention system. If this is the case then ERP modulations should be observed at an earlier latency than the P300 and these should be observed in ERPs to both standard and softer tones. Such effects were not observed in our previous study. This was possibly due to the use of a linked-mastoid reference which may have obscured lateralized differences. The aim of the present study was to replicate the previous auditory P300 subjective accenting findings and to investigate the possibility that these effects are preceded by ERP changes that are indicative of rhythmic modulation of perceptual processing. Previous auditory P300 findings were replicated. in addition and consistent with cur-rent theories of rhythm processing, early brain ERP differences were observed both in standard and deviant tones from the onset of the stimulus. These left lateralized differences are consistent with a rhythmic, endogenously driven, modulation of perception that influences the conscious experience of equitonal isochronous sequences. Crown Copyright (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier Srl. All rights reserved.

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ISBN: 0010-9452
Publication Year: 2009
Periodical: Cortex
Periodical Number: 1
Volume: 45
Pages: 103-109
Author Address: