Our daily lives are filled with rhythmic movements, such as walking, sports, and dancing, but the mechanisms by which the brain controls rhythmic movements are poorly understood. In this review, we examine the literature on neuropsychological studies of patients with focal brain lesions, and functional brain imaging studies primarily using finger-tapping tasks. These studies suggest a close connection between sensory and motor processing of rhythm, with no apparent distinction between the two functions. Thus, we conducted two functional brain imaging studies to survey the rhythm representations relatively independent of sensory and motor functions. First, we determined brain activations related to rhythm processing in a sensory modality-independent manner. Second, we examined body part-independent brain activation related to rhythm reproduction. Based on previous literature, we discuss how brain areas contribute rhythmic motor control. Furthermore, we also discuss the mechanisms by which the brain controls rhythmic movements.
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