Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Joel S. Snyder

Second Committee Member

Erin Hannon

Third Committee Member

Jefferson Kinney

Fourth Committee Member

Eugenie Burkett

Number of Pages



The perception of timing information plays a large role in our everyday activities, yet we still do not accurately understand the mechanisms underlying these perceptions. Both modality-general and modality specific mechanisms have been suggested to account for perceptual timing. The use of a new auditory tempo perception paradigm can be used to examine various brain responses - measured via electroencephalography (EEG) - thought to index timing perception. This study applied this paradigm to both auditory and visual rhythms, and compared event-related potentials (ERPs) to task performance. Auditory and visual contingent negative variation (CNV) components showed two distinct voltage patterns across the scalp: The auditory CNV appears to show contributions from temporal areas, while the visual CNV appears to show contributions from occipital areas. There were larger CNV amplitudes in the auditory modality than in the visual, suggesting the CNV indexes modality-specific processing. A late, memory-dependent positive-voltage component did not show these modality-related topographical or amplitude differences, and instead reflects modality-general processing. This suggests timing information is encoded intrinsically at a sensory level, and this information is then routed to a cognitive, decision-making area for further processing.


Auditory; CNV; EEG; Electroencephalography; P300; Rhythm – Psychological aspects; Rhythms; Time perception; Visual


Cognition and Perception | Psychology