Auditory-motor integration of subliminal phase shifts in tapping: Better than auditory discrimination would predict

Florian A. Kagerer, Priya Viswanathan, Jose L. Contreras Vidal, Jill Whitall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Unilateral tapping studies have shown that adults adjust to both perceptible and subliminal changes in phase or frequency. This study focuses on the phase responses to abrupt/perceptible and gradual/subliminal changes in auditory-motor relations during alternating bilateral tapping. We investigated these responses in participants with and without good perceptual acuity as determined by an auditory threshold test. Non-musician adults (nine per group) alternately tapped their index fingers in synchrony with auditory cues set at a frequency of 1.4 Hz. Both groups modulated their responses (with no after-effects) to perceptible and to subliminal changes as low as a 5° change in phase. The high-threshold participants were more variable than the adults with low threshold in their responses in the gradual condition set. Both groups demonstrated a synchronization asymmetry between dominant and non-dominant hands associated with the abrupt condition and the later blocks of the gradual condition. Our findings extend previous work in unilateral tapping and suggest (1) no relationship between a discrimination threshold and perceptible auditory-motor integration and (2) a noisier sub-cortical circuitry in those with higher thresholds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1218
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Auditory perceptual thresholds
  • Bilateral finger tapping
  • Motor timing
  • Sensory-motor synchronization
  • Subliminal change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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