Hearing, feeling or seeing a beat recruits a supramodal network in the auditory dorsal stream

Rodrigo Araneda, Laurent Renier, Daniela Ebner-Karestinos, Laurence Dricot, Anne G. De Volder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Hearing a beat recruits a wide neural network that involves the auditory cortex and motor planning regions. Perceiving a beat can potentially be achieved via vision or even touch, but it is currently not clear whether a common neural network underlies beat processing. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test to what extent the neural network involved in beat processing is supramodal, that is, is the same in the different sensory modalities. Brain activity changes in 27 healthy volunteers were monitored while they were attending to the same rhythmic sequences (with and without a beat) in audition, vision and the vibrotactile modality. We found a common neural network for beat detection in the three modalities that involved parts of the auditory dorsal pathway. Within this network, only the putamen and the supplementary motor area (SMA) showed specificity to the beat, while the brain activity in the putamen covariated with the beat detection speed. These results highlighted the implication of the auditory dorsal stream in beat detection, confirmed the important role played by the putamen in beat detection and indicated that the neural network for beat detection is mostly supramodal. This constitutes a new example of convergence of the same functional attributes into one centralized representation in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1450
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • beat perception
  • multisensory integration
  • rhythm perception
  • touch
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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