Prominence of delta oscillatory rhythms in the motor cortex and their relevance for auditory and speech perception

Benjamin Morillon (Lead / Corresponding author), Luc H. Arnal, Charles E. Schroeder, Anne Keitel (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
272 Downloads (Pure)


In the motor cortex, beta oscillations (~12-30 Hz) are generally considered a principal rhythm contributing to movement planning and execution. Beta oscillations cohabit and dynamically interact with slow delta oscillations (0.5-4 Hz), but the role of delta oscillations and the subordinate relationship between these rhythms in the perception-action loop remains unclear. Here, we review evidence that motor delta oscillations shape the dynamics of motor behaviors and sensorimotor processes, in particular during auditory perception. We describe the functional coupling between delta and beta oscillations in the motor cortex during spontaneous and planned motor acts. In an active sensing framework, perception is strongly shaped by motor activity, in particular in the delta band, which imposes temporal constraints on the sampling of sensory information. By encoding temporal contextual information, delta oscillations modulate auditory processing and impact behavioral outcomes. Finally, we consider the contribution of motor delta oscillations in the perceptual analysis of speech signals, providing a contextual temporal frame to optimize the parsing and processing of slow linguistic information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date10 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Active inference
  • Active sensing
  • Audio-motor coupling
  • Delta
  • Neural oscillations
  • Rhythm
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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