Rats Bop to the Beat

Summary: Recent findings show that rats can move their heads to the beat of music, which shows that animals have a coordination mechanism.

Source: University of Tokyo

Moving directly to a musical beat is thought to be a skill unique to humans. However, new research is now showing that mice have this ability.

The right time for nodding is known because of the time constant in the brain (the speed at which our brain reacts to something), which is the same in all situations. In other words, the ability to hear and move to music is more widespread across genres than thought.

This new knowledge provides more insight into the animal mind, but also into the origins of our music and dance.

Can you move a punch, or two left feet? It turns out, how well we move to music depends on our genetic ability, and this skill was once considered a unique human trait.

While animals may be working together to hear noise, or hear sounds, or learn to respond to music, these are not the same neural and motor processes that work. like we can really see the beat in a song. to answer or predict. This is called beat synchronicity.

Only recently, research studies (and home videos) have shown that some animals like us like to move in the groove. A new paper by a team at the University of Tokyo shows that one of them is a rat.

“The rats exposed in the body – that is, without training or prior exposure to the music – in setting the beat within 120-140 bpm (beats per minute), where people show very clear beat synchronization,” said Associate Professor Hirokazu Takahashi from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology.

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“The auditory cortex, the part of our brain that produces sound, is tuned to 120-140 bpm, we can explain using our mathematical model of the brain’s evolution .”

But why play music to mice in the first place?

“Music strongly activates the brain and has profound effects on emotion and cognition. To use music effectively, we need to reveal the neural structure associated with this fact,” said Takahashi.

“I’m a specialist in electrophysiology, dealing with electrical activity in the brain, and I’ve been studying the auditory cortex of rats for many years.”

The group has two other hypotheses: First, the optimal musical time for beat synchronicity is determined by the body’s time constant. This varies between species and is faster for smaller animals compared to humans (think of how fast a mouse can burn).

Second, the right time is determined by the brain’s time constant, which is the same as behavior.

“After conducting our research with 20 human participants and 10 mice, our results show that it is possible to set the beat based on constant time in the brain,” said Takahashi.

“This shows that the animal brain can be useful in interpreting the emotional aspects of music.”

The mice were implanted with small electronic sensors, which could measure small head movements.

Participants also wore accelerometers on headphones. Then they played one minute from Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448, at four different speeds: Seventy-five percent, 100%, 200% and 400% of the original speed.

The first time was 132 bpm and the results showed that the beat synchronicity of the rats was more obvious in the 120-140 bpm range.

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The team also found that rats and humans touched their heads to the same beat, and that decreasing head height also made the music faster.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on innate beat regulation in animals that is not achieved through training or playing music,” said Takahashi.

“We thought that the change in the brain was related to the tuning of the auditory cortex. We were able to explain this by connecting our neural activity data to a mathematical model of the change.

“Furthermore, our adaptation model showed that in response to normal pressure sequences, the highest beat prediction activity occurred during the interstimulus interval (the time between the end of a stimulus and the start of another) about 200 milliseconds (one thousandth of a time. second).

This shows a mouse
Along with interesting insights into animal psychology and the development of our beat synchronicity, researchers also find it interesting to create music itself. The image is in the public domain

“This is similar to the number of internote intervals in classical music, indicating the adaptive value in the brain underlying the perception and processing of music.”

Along with interesting insights into animal psychology and the development of our beat synchronicity, researchers also find it interesting to create music itself.

See also

This shows the guar beans

“Next, I want to show how other musical elements like melody and harmony are related to the dynamics of the brain. I’m also interested in how, why and how. brain function that creates human cultural fields such as fine art, music, science, technology and religion,” said Takahashi.

“I believe that this question is the key to understand how the brain works and develop the next generation AI (artificial intelligence). Also, as an engineer, I like to use the music for a happy life.

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Budget: This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (20H04252, 21H05807) and JST Moonshot R&D program (JPMJMS2296).

For this music and neuroscience research news

Author: Joseph Krisher
Source: University of Tokyo
Contact: Joseph Krisher – University of Tokyo
Image: The image is in the crowd

Basic research: Open the entrance.
“Voluntary release in rats: Neural dynamics and motor entrainment” by Hirokazu Takahashi et al. Science Translational Medicine


Orientation in rats: Neural dynamics and motor entrainment

The beat and arrangement within 120 to 140 beats/min (BPM) is common to people and is often used in music composition. Why is it unusual to set the beat in some ways and the mechanism that determines the right time is not clear.

Here, we looked at body movements and neural activity in mice to determine their mood.

A closer look at head movements and neural recordings revealed that the mice showed significant beat synchronization and activity in the auditory cortex within 120 to 140 BPM. Mathematical modeling suggests that short-term fluctuations are the cause of this play.

Our results support the hypothesis that the time constant for beat coordination is determined by the time constant of neural dynamics maintained across species, rather than the time constant of physical movements. Thus, the latent neural propensity for auditory motor input may be the basis for human involvement that is broader than currently thought.

Recent studies comparing humans and animals provide insights into the origins of music and dance.


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