MatTAP: A MATLAB toolbox for the control and analysis of movement synchronisation experiments

Mark Elliott, Andrew Welchman, Alan Wing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Investigating movement timing and synchronisation at the sub-second range relies on an experimental setup that has high temporal fidelity, is able to deliver output cues and can capture corresponding responses. Modern, multi-tasking operating systems make this increasingly challenging when using standard PC hardware and programming languages. This paper describes a new free suite of tools (available from for use within the MATLAB programming environment, compatible with Microsoft Windows and a range of data acquisition hardware. The toolbox allows flexible generation of timing cues with high temporal accuracy, the capture and automatic storage of corresponding participant responses and an integrated analysis module for the rapid processing of results. A simple graphical user interface is used to navigate the toolbox and so can be operated easily by users not familiar with programming languages. However, it is also fully extensible and customisable, allowing adaptation for individual experiments and facilitating the addition of new modules in future releases. Here we discuss the relevance of the MatTAP (MATLAB Timing Analysis Package) toolbox to current timing experiments and compare its use to alternative methods. We validate the accuracy of the analysis module through comparison to manual observation methods and replicate a previous sensorimotor synchronisation experiment to demonstrate the versatility of the toolbox features demanded by such movement synchronisation paradigms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-7
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2009


  • Timing
  • Metronome
  • Tapping
  • Toolbox
  • Synchronisation


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