265 | Temporal context influences the error correction mechanism in a paced finger tapping task

Sensory and Motor Systems

Author: Ariel Dario Silva | Email: arieldario.silva83@gmail.com

Ariel Silva , Rodrigo Laje

1° Laboratorio de Dinámica Sensomotora
2° Universidad Nacional de Quilmes

Sensorimotor synchronization (SMS) is the mainly specifically human ability to move in sync with a periodic external stimulus, as in keeping pace with music. The most common experimental paradigm to study its largely unknown underlying mechanisms is the paced finger tapping task, where a subject taps to a periodic sequence of brief tones. Contrary to reaction time, this task involves temporal prediction because the subject needs to trigger the motor action in advance in order for the tap and the next stimulus to occur simultaneously, and an error correction mechanism takes the past performance as input to adjust the following prediction. In a different temporal task, it has been shown that exposure to a distribution of temporal intervals creates a “temporal context” that can bias the estimation/production of a single target interval. As temporal estimation and production are also involved in SMS, we asked whether a paced finger tapping task would show any temporal context effect. In this work we show that temporal context can indeed be generated in a paced finger tapping task via period perturbations, and that the shape and size of the resynchronization curve (synchrony error as a function of stimulus number) depends on the temporal context. We conclude that the underlying error correction mechanism in SMS depends on the temporal context in much the same way as in other, simpler temporal tasks.