, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 305-317

Synchronizing actions with events: The role of sensory information

Abstract

Tasks requiring the subject to tap in synchrony to a regular sequence of stimulus events (e.g., clicks) usually elicit a response pattern in which the tap precedes the click by about 30-50 msec. This “negative asynchrony” was examined, first, by instructing subjects to use different effectors for tapping (hand vs. foot; Experiments 1 and 2), and second, by administering extrinsic auditory feedback in addition to the intrinsic tactile/kinesthetic feedback (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 controlled whether the results observed in Experiment 2 were due to purely sensory factors within the auditory modality. Results suggest that taps are synchronized with clicks at the central level by superimposing two sensory codes in time: the tactile/kinesthetic code that represents the tap (the afferent movement code) and the auditory code that represents the click (the afferent code that results from the guiding signal). Because the processing times involved in code generation are different for these two central codes, the tap has to lead over the click.