The timing of regular sequences: Production, perception, and covariation

The temporal structure of behavior provides information that allows the tracking of temporal regularity in the sensory and sensorimotor domains. In turn, temporal regularity allows the generation of predictions about upcoming events and to adjust behavior accordingly. These mechanisms are essential to ensure behavior beyond the level of mere reaction. However, efficient temporal processing is required to establish adequate internal representations of temporal structure. The current study used two simple paradigms, namely, finger-tapping at a regular self-chosen rate (spontaneous motor tempo) and ERPs of the EEG (EEG/ERP) recorded during attentive listening to temporally regular and irregular “oddball” sequences to explore the capacity to encode and use temporal regularity in production and perception. The results show that specific aspects of the ability to time a regular sequence of events in production covary with the ability to time a regular sequence in perception, probably pointing toward the engagement of domain-general mechanisms.