Listening strategy for auditory rhythms modulates neural correlates of expectancy and cognitive processing


  • This work was supported by a summer research stipend from the College of Liberal Arts and a research development award from the Office for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (J.S.S.) and grants from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Science Foundation (J.D.M.). The authors thank Jessica Grahn for comments on an earlier draft of the paper.

Address correspondence to: Joel S. Snyder, Department of Psychology, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway—Mail Stop 5030, Las Vegas, NV 89154-5030. E-mail:


A recently described auditory tempo perception paradigm revealed individual differences in perceived stimulus timing for identical stimulus sequences. The current study takes advantage of this paradigm by recording event-related potentials (ERPs) concurrent with task performance in order to reveal brain responses that reflect individual differences in timing strategy. No strategy-related differences were observed in sensory encoding of tones, as measured by the P1-N1-P2 complex. However, the contingent negative variation (CNV) leading up to the final tone of the sequence varied as a function of strategy, as did a parietal-maximum late positive component (P3b) that occurred following the final tone. These data suggest that temporal expectancy for and cognitive processing of the final tone of rhythmic sequences underlies differences in strategy during rhythm perception.