Why do we love a good beat?

 

When we listen to music, we often tap our feet or bob our head along to the beat; but why do we do it? New research led by Western Sydney University's MARCS Institute suggests the reason could be related to the way our brain processes low-frequency sounds.

The study, published in PNAS, recorded the electrical activity of volunteers’ brains while they listened to rhythmic patterns played at either low or high-pitched tones. The study found that while listening, volunteer’s brain activities and the rhythmic structure of the sound became synchronized – particularly at the frequency of the beat.

Co-author of the paper, Dr Sylvie Nozaradan from the MARCS Institute, say these findings strongly suggest that the bass exploits a neurophysiological mechanism in the brain – essentially forcing it to lock onto the beat.

Our very own Professor Peter Keller spoke with ABC's Triple J team in the 'What is Music' video series about his findings.

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17 August 2017

We all know what it’s like to forget something. A loved one’s birthday. A childhood memory. Even people capable of extraordinary memory feats – say, memorising the order of a deck of cards in less than 20 seconds – will still forget where they left their keys. People, it seems, are never in complete control of their memories.

Forgetting is a tricky business, both for humans and for artificial intelligence (AI), and researchers are exploring the idea of robot memory in many different ways.

Featured Publications

Speech tones
Studies on the acquisition of lexical tone by adult learners have revealed that language background, musical experience, cognitive abilities and neuroanatomy all play a role in determining effective tone learning success. However, it is not clear whether similar individual differences play an analogous role in tone learning in childhood. Read more...
Justus von Leibig
We present a massively-parallel scalable multi-purpose neuromorphic engine. All existing neuromorphic hardware systems suffer from Liebig's law (that the performance of the system is limited by the component in shortest supply) as they have fixed numbers of dedicated neurons and synapses for specific types of plasticity.To overcome this problem, our engine adopts a unique novel architecture. Read more...