Sensorimotor synchronization: a review of recent research (2006-2012)

Psychon Bull Rev. 2013 Jun;20(3):403-52. doi: 10.3758/s13423-012-0371-2.


Sensorimotor synchronization (SMS) is the coordination of rhythmic movement with an external rhythm, ranging from finger tapping in time with a metronome to musical ensemble performance. An earlier review (Repp, 2005) covered tapping studies; two additional reviews (Repp, 2006a, b) focused on music performance and on rate limits of SMS, respectively. The present article supplements and extends these earlier reviews by surveying more recent research in what appears to be a burgeoning field. The article comprises four parts, dealing with (1) conventional tapping studies, (2) other forms of moving in synchrony with external rhythms (including dance and nonhuman animals' synchronization abilities), (3) interpersonal synchronization (including musical ensemble performance), and (4) the neuroscience of SMS. It is evident that much new knowledge about SMS has been acquired in the last 7 years.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dancing*
  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Periodicity*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*