Humans have the abilities to perceive, produce, and synchronize with a musical beat, yet there are widespread individual differences. To investigate these abilities and to determine if a dissociation between beat perception and production exists, we developed the Harvard Beat Assessment Test (H-BAT), a new battery that assesses beat perception and production abilities. H-BAT consists of four subtests: (1) music tapping test (MTT), (2) beat saliency test (BST), (3) beat interval test (BIT), and (4) beat finding and interval test (BFIT). MTT measures the degree of tapping synchronization with the beat of music, whereas BST, BIT, and BFIT measure perception and production thresholds via psychophysical adaptive stair-case methods. We administered the H-BAT on thirty individuals and investigated the performance distribution across these individuals in each subtest. There was a wide distribution in individual abilities to tap in synchrony with the beat of music during the MTT. The degree of synchronization consistency was negatively correlated with thresholds in the BST, BIT, and BFIT: a lower degree of synchronization was associated with higher perception and production thresholds. H-BAT can be a useful tool in determining an individual's ability to perceive and produce a beat within a single session.
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