Can rhythm-induced attention improve the perceptual representation?

Asaf Elbaz, Yaffa Yeshurun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Temporal attention can be entrained exogenously to rhythms. Indeed, faster and more accurate responses were previously found when the target appeared in-phase with a preceding rhythm in comparison to when it was out of phase. However, the nature of this rhythminduced attentional effect is not well understood. To better understand the processes underlying rhythm-induced attention, we employed a continuous measure of perceived orientation and a mixture-model analysis. A trial in our study started with a sequence of auditory beeps separated by a fixed inter-beeps interval in the regular (rhythmic) condition or by variable inter-beeps intervals in the irregular condition. A visual target-a line embedded in a circle- followed the sequence. The 'critical' interval between the last beep and the target was chosen randomly from several possible Inter-Onset Intervals (IOIs), of which only one was inphase with the rhythm. The target was followed by a probe line, and the participants were asked to rotate it to reproduce the target's orientation. The measure of performance for a given trial was the difference in degrees between the orientation of the target and that reproduced by the observer. We found that guessing rate was lower with regular than irregular rhythms. However, there was no effect of rhythm type (regular vs irregular) on the quality of representation (measured as the variability in reproducing the target). Furthermore, the rhythm effect was present only when rhythm type was fixed within a block, and it was found with all IOIs, not just the in-phase IOI. This lack of specificity suggests that these results reflect a general effect of rhythm on alertness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0231200
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elbaz, Yeshurun. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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