Send to

Choose Destination
Elife. 2018 Oct 22;7. pii: e38983. doi: 10.7554/eLife.38983.

Entrainment and maintenance of an internal metronome in supplementary motor area.

Author information

Institute of Neurobiology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Querétaro, México.
McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States.
Contributed equally


To prepare timely motor actions, we constantly predict future events. Regularly repeating events are often perceived as a rhythm to which we can readily synchronize our movements, just as in dancing to music. However, the neuronal mechanisms underlying the capacity to encode and maintain rhythms are not understood. We trained nonhuman primates to maintain the rhythm of a visual metronome of diverse tempos and recorded neural activity in the supplementary motor area (SMA). SMA exhibited rhythmic bursts of gamma band (30-40 Hz) reflecting an internal tempo that matched the extinguished visual metronome. Moreover, gamma amplitude increased throughout the trial, providing an estimate of total elapsed time. Notably, the timing of gamma bursts and firing rate modulations allowed predicting whether monkeys were ahead or behind the correct tempo. Our results indicate that SMA uses dynamic motor plans to encode a metronome for rhythms and a stopwatch for total elapsed time.


local field potential; neuroscience; primate; rhesus macaque; rhythm perception; supplementary motor area; timing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center