By Interactive Metronome - December 9, 2014

Body Movement Selectively Shapes the Neural Representation of Musical Rhythms

Body Movement Selectively Shapes the Neural Representation of Musical Rhythms 


We got this amazing research from our friend Dr. Kevin McGrew. Be sure to check out his blog over at

In an interesting “chicken or the egg” type of situation, scientist look deep inside our brains to determine if we register musical rhythms differently when we involve movement. Does rhythm determine how we move, or does previous movement change how we hear a beat? We all know music makes us want to get up and move, but how do you know what movements to make, or how to dance to a new song? Did you know that you could very well rely on previous experiences of body movement to interpret ambiguous rhythms? What does that all mean? Check out the full study to find out more.


It is increasingly recognized that motor routines dynamically shape the processing of sensory inflow (e.g., when hand movements are used to feel a texture or identify an object). In the present research, we captured the shaping of auditory perception by movement in humans by taking advantage of a specific context: music. Participants listened to a repeated rhythmical sequence before and after moving their bodies to this rhythm in a specific meter. We found that the brain responses to the rhythm (as recorded with electroencephalography) after body movement were significantly enhanced at frequencies related to the meter to which the participants had moved. These results provide evidence that body movement can selectively shape the subsequent internal representation of auditory rhythms.

…Read the full study here.


Psychological Science
© The Author(s) 2014
Reprints and permissions: DOI: 10.1177/0956797614551161

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