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Dobrimir Dotov and Laurel J Trainor (2021)

Cross-frequency coupling explains the preference for simple ratios in rhythmic behaviour and the relative stability across non-synchronous patterns

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Rhythms are important for understanding coordinated behaviours in ecological systems. The repetitive nature of rhythms affords prediction, planning of movements, and coordination of processes within and between individuals. A major challenge is to understand complex forms of coordination when they differ from complete synchronization. By expressing phase as ratio of a cycle, we adapted levels of the Farey tree as a metric of complexity mapped to the range between in-phase and anti-phase synchronization. In a bimanual tapping task, this revealed an increase of variability with ratio complexity, a range of hidden and unstable yet measurable modes, and a rank-frequency scaling law across these modes. We use the phase-attractive circle map to propose an interpretation of these findings in terms of hierarchical cross-frequency coupling (CFC). We also consider the tendency for small-integer attractors in the single-hand repeated tapping of 3-interval rhythms reported in the literature. The phase-attractive circle map has wider basins of attractions for such ratios. This work motivates the question of whether CFC intrinsic to neural dynamics implements low-level priors for timing and coordination and thus becomes involved in phenomena as diverse as attractor states in bimanual coordination and the cross-cultural tendency for musical rhythms to have simple interval ratios.

Keywords: coordination, cross-frequency coupling, Farey tree, intrinsic dynamics, rhythm, scaling law

Supplementary material from "Cross-frequency coupling explains the preference for simple ratios in rhythmic behaviour and the relative stability across non-synchronous patterns". The Royal Society. Collection. 

https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0333

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5501579.v1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

synchrony