The brain follows rhythm of song and dance, study shows
The brain follows rhythm of song and dance, and for musicians, the neuronal response is stronger.
Rhythm: a strong, regular repeated pattern of movement or sound. Do you know what loves patterns? The brain loves patterns and therefore is geared to follow rhythm. But to what extent does the brain follow rhythm? That is the question researchers at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona explored in this new study, published in the journal Brain and Cognition.
“This study explores the relationship between the rhythmic structure of music and the spatial dimension of sound. We study how the brain interacts with sounds that are spatially separated to build a metric structure,” explains the authors of the Celma-Miralles study and Toro.
To do this, they compared the neuronal responses of professional musicians to non-trained listeners while both groups listened to a rhythm of waltz.
In one experiment, participants observed sounds defined by their spatial position and in another experiment the participants observed a visual distraction.
Researchers observed that the brain of all listeners was synchronized at the pace- independent of their musical training.
The results also showed that “neuronal responses from musicians were much stronger and more resistant to distractions than non-musicians,” which shows that training facilitates rhythmic synchronization.
As the researchers say, “the most relevant thing in this study is that it shows that our brain is prepared to keep up the pace, whether we listen to it in a song or see it in a dance.”
This study on how the brain follows rhythm also reinforces the idea that the “neuronal processing of rhythm and compass is facilitated by prior experience with rhythmic events during long periods of formal musical training,” the study says.