Tomas Lenc

Research Student

Research Program: Music Cognition and Action


Thesis Title

How musical rhythms entrain the human brain: Clarifying the neural mechanisms of sensory-motor entrainment to rhythms.

Research Project

The ability to perceive metrical hierarchy of periodic beats in complex musical rhythms appears to be universal among humans. Moreover, people do not only perceive beats, but they often spontaneously synchronize body movements to them, for instance by foot tapping, head rocking or dancing (this is called sensory-motor entrainment). When we listen to music we can often feel an "urge to move", a quality of music referred to as the groove. 

My research uses concepts and methods of psychology and neuroscience to clarify the mechanisms, specifically the acoustic and structural musical properties that make us move to music and boost sensory-motor entrainment. For instance, why do bass-range instruments usually keep the rhythm while high-pitched instruments play the melody? How are the rhythmic properties of different instrumental layers of polyphonic music integrated into a coherent metrical structure in the human brain?

To this end, I use behavioral methods and EEG (frequency-tagging approach) to investigate the mechanisms underlying sensory-motor and neural entrainment. 

Qualifications and Honours

  • 2014 Bachelor of Psychology, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 2016 Master of Cognitive Science, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia

Contact Tomas
Phone+61 2 9772 6801
LocationWestern Sydney University Bankstown campus (Bullecourt Ave, Milperra)