Bouwer, F., & Honing, H. (2012). Rhythmic regularity revisited: Is beat induction indeed pre-attentive? Proceedings of the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (pp. 122-127). Thessaloniki: Greece.

When listening to musical rhythm, regularity in time is often perceived in the form of a beat or pulse. External rhythmic events can give rise to the perception of a beat, through a process known as beat induction. In addition, internal processes, like long-term memory, working memory and automatic grouping can influence how we perceive a beat. Beat perception thus is an interplay between bottom-up and top-down processes. Beat perception is thought to be a very basic process. However, whether or not beat perception depends on attention is subject to debate. Some studies have shown that beat perception is a pre-attentive process, while others provide support for the view that attention is a prerequisite for beat perception. In this paper, we review the current literature on beat perception and attention. We propose a framework for future work in this area, differentiating between bottom-up and top-down processes involved in beat perception. We introduce two hypotheses about the relation between beat perception and attention. The first hypothesis entails that without attention there can be no beat induction and thus no beat perception. The second hypothesis states that beat induction is independent of attention, while attention can indirectly modulate the perception of a beat by influencing the top-down processes involved in beat perception.

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