Rhythm and time in the premotor cortex

PLoS Biol. 2019 Jun 3;17(6):e3000293. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000293. eCollection 2019 Jun.


Many animals can encode temporal intervals and use them to plan their actions, but only humans can flexibly extract a regular beat from complex patterns, such as musical rhythms. Beat-based timing is hypothesized to rely on the integration of sensory information with temporal information encoded in motor regions such as the medial premotor cortex (MPC), but how beat-based timing might be encoded in neuronal populations is mostly unknown. Gámez and colleagues show that the MPC encodes temporal information via a population code visible as circular trajectories in state space; these patterns may represent precursors to more-complex skills such as beat-based timing.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex*
  • Neurons
  • Reaction Time
  • Time

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.