Neural basis of rhythmic timing networks in the human brain

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Nov:999:364-73. doi: 10.1196/annals.1284.044.


The study of rhythmicity provides insights into the understanding of temporal coding of music and temporal information processing in the human brain. Auditory rhythms rapidly entrain motor responses into stable steady synchronization states below and above conscious perception thresholds. Studying the neural dynamics of entrainment by measuring brain wave responses (MEG) we found nonlinear scaling of M100 amplitudes generated in primary auditory cortex relative to changes in the period of the rhythmic interval during subliminal and supraliminal tempo modulations. In recent brain imaging studies we have described the neural networks involved in motor synchronization to auditory rhythm. Activated regions include primary sensorimotor and cingulate areas, bilateral opercular premotor areas, bilateral SII, ventral prefrontal cortex, and, subcortically, anterior insula, putamen, and thalamus. Within the cerebellum, vermal regions and anterior hemispheres ipsilateral to the movement became significantly activated. Tracking temporal modulations additionally activated predominantly right prefrontal, anterior cingulate, and intraparietal regions as well as posterior cerebellar hemispheres. Furthermore, strong evidence exists for the substantial benefits of rhythmic stimuli in rehabilitation training with motor disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Time Perception / physiology*