Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newborn infants detect the beat in music

27.01.2009
Researchers at the Institute for Psychology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation of the University of Amsterdam demonstrated that two to three day old babies can detect the beat in music.

This phenomenon - termed ‘beat induction’ - is likely to have contributed to music’s origin. It enables such actions as clapping, making music together and dancing to a rhythm. Beat induction is also considered to be uniquely human. Even our closest evolutionary relatives, such as the chimpanzee and bonobo, do not synchronise their behaviour to rhythmic sounds.

The findings, which have just been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenge some earlier assumptions that beat induction is learned in the first few months of life, for example by parents rocking the infant. Instead, the results of this collaborative European study demonstrate that beat perception is either innate or learned in the womb, as the auditory system is at least partly functional as of approximately three month before birth. It should be noted that the auditory capabilities underlying beat induction are also necessary for bootstrapping communication by sounds, allowing infants to adapt to the rhythm of the caretaker’s speech and to find out when to respond to it or to interject their own vocalisation. Therefore, although these results are compatible with the notion of the genetic origin of music in humans, they do not provide the final answer in this longstanding debate.

Research method
Since it is not feasible to observe behavioural reactions in newborns, the researchers used scalp electrodes to measure electrical brain signals. The babies wore self-adhesive ear-couplers (see photo) through which a simple, regular rock rhythm was delivered, consisting of hi-hat, snare, and bass drum. Several variants of the basic rhythm were constructed by omitting strokes on non-significant positions of the rhythm (i.e. 'non-syncopated' in music theoretical terms). These variants were played to the infants, with a 'deviant' segment, missing the downbeat (i.e. 'syncopated'), occasionally interspersed. Shortly after each deviant segment began, the babies' brains produced an electrical response indicating that they had expected to hear the downbeat but had not.

This research was conducted within the EmCAP (Emergent Cognition through Active Perception) collaborative project funded by the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme for ‘Information Society Technologies’.

The online article can be viewed via: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0809035106. See also: http://www.musiccognition.nl/newborns/.

Laura Erdtsieck | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uva.nl

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>