Brain Topography

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 153–160 | Cite as

EEG Frequency-Tagging and Input–Output Comparison in Rhythm Perception

  • Sylvie Nozaradan
  • Peter E. Keller
  • Bruno Rossion
  • André Mouraux


The combination of frequency-tagging with electroencephalography (EEG) has recently proved fruitful for understanding the perception of beat and meter in musical rhythm, a common behavior shared by humans of all cultures. EEG frequency-tagging allows the objective measurement of input–output transforms to investigate beat perception, its modulation by exogenous and endogenous factors, development, and neural basis. Recent doubt has been raised about the validity of comparing frequency-domain representations of auditory rhythmic stimuli and corresponding EEG responses, assuming that it implies a one-to-one mapping between the envelope of the rhythmic input and the neural output, and that it neglects the sensitivity of frequency-domain representations to acoustic features making up the rhythms. Here we argue that these elements actually reinforce the strengths of the approach. The obvious fact that acoustic features influence the frequency spectrum of the sound envelope precisely justifies taking into consideration the sounds used to generate a beat percept for interpreting neural responses to auditory rhythms. Most importantly, the many-to-one relationship between rhythmic input and perceived beat actually validates an approach that objectively measures the input–output transforms underlying the perceptual categorization of rhythmic inputs. Hence, provided that a number of potential pitfalls and fallacies are avoided, EEG frequency-tagging to study input–output relationships appears valuable for understanding rhythm perception.


EEG Frequency-tagging Rhythm and beat perception Auditory system Perceptual categorization Neural transform 



S.N. is supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA DE160101064 and FRSM 3.4558.12 Convention Grant from the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS) (to Pr. A. Mouraux). P.K. is supported by a Future Fellowship grant from the Australian Research Council (FT140101162).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development (WSU)SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Institute of Neuroscience (Ions)Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)BrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (Brams)MontrealCanada
  4. 4.Neurology UnitCentre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire (CHRU) de NancyNancyFrance
  5. 5.MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and DevelopmentWestern Sydney UniversityPenrithAustralia

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