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Journal Article

Individual neurophysiological signatures of spontaneous rhythm processing


Obermeier,  C.
BG Klinikum Bergmannstrost Halle, Germany;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;


Kotz,  Sonja A.       
Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Maastricht University, the Netherlands;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Criscuolo, A., Schwartze, M., Henry, M. J., Obermeier, C., & Kotz, S. A. (2023). Individual neurophysiological signatures of spontaneous rhythm processing. NeuroImage, 273: 120090. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2023.120090.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-EC8C-D
When sensory input conveys rhythmic regularity, we can form predictions about the timing of upcoming events. Although rhythm processing capacities differ considerably between individuals, these differences are often obscured by participant- and trial-level data averaging procedures in M/EEG research. Here, we systematically assessed neurophysiological variability displayed by individuals listening to isochronous (1.54Hz) equitone sequences interspersed with unexpected (amplitude-attenuated) deviant tones. Our approach aimed at revealing time-varying adaptive neural mechanisms for sampling the acoustic environment at multiple timescales. Rhythm tracking analyses confirmed that individuals encode temporal regularities and form temporal expectations, as indicated in delta-band (1.54Hz) power and its anticipatory phase alignment to expected tone onsets. Zooming into tone- and participant-level data, we further characterized intra- and inter-individual variabilities in phase-alignment across auditory sequences. Further, individual modelling of beta-band tone-locked responses showed that a subset of auditory sequences was sampled rhythmically by superimposing binary (strong-weak; S-w), ternary (S-w-w) and mixed accentuation patterns. In these sequences, neural responses to standard and deviant tones were modulated by a binary accentuation pattern, thus pointing towards a mechanism of dynamic attending. Altogether, the current results point toward complementary roles of delta- and beta-band activity in rhythm processing and further highlight diverse and adaptive mechanisms to track and sample the acoustic environment at multiple timescales, even in the absence of task-specific instructions.