A brain region linked to movement is integral to recognizing rhythms
Jessica Ross/UC Merced
If you’ve ever felt the urge to tap along to music, this research may strike a chord.
Recognizing rhythms doesn’t involve just parts of the brain that process sound — it also relies on a brain region involved with movement, researchers report online January 18 in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. When an area of the brain that plans movement was disabled temporarily, people struggled to detect changes in rhythms.
The study is the first to connect humans’ ability to detect rhythms to the posterior parietal cortex, a brain region associated with planning body movements as well as higher-level functions such as paying attention and perceiving three dimensions.
“When you’re listening to a rhythm, you’re making predictions about how long the time interval is between the beats and where those sounds will fall,” says coauthor Jessica