Your Never to Young.....

benson111benson111 Eater of Fine Cupcakes
edited January 2009 in History of Rock
livescience.com – 1 hr 29 mins ago

Newborns can follow a rhythm, a new study has found, suggesting rocking out is innate.

The finding, published in the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds to growing evidence that the newborn brain is not the blank slate it was once thought to be.

Rather, scientists have shown, at birth we already have sophisticated methods for interpreting the world. Discrimination may be crude, explained lead researcher István Winkler of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, but "the basic algorithms are in place already."

This may be particularly true when it comes to sound. Infants as young as 2 days old can process pitch and tell if a series of notes are rising or falling in scale. And it is now known they have rhythm, too.

Newborns can't exactly swing their hips to prove they can jive, so Winkler and his colleague Henkjan Honing of the University of Amsterdam monitored the brains of 14 infants listening to variations of a rock rhythm - complete with drum, snare and high hat cymbal.

When "metrically-unimportant portions" of the beat were silenced, nothing much changed among the auditory-related activity in the brain, Honing said. But when the rhythm was disturbed, particularly by omitting the downbeat, the infant brain responded with an error signal: An expectation for a rhythmic pattern was not met.

"A baby's auditory system is working the same way as an adult's, in that it is always making predictions," Winkler said. If the prediction is incorrect, an error signal helps gauge "how much you are off the actual target," he said.

While spoken language can take more than a year to develop, "music is one of the earliest things parents have with their children," Honing said.

On a note-to-note level, adult speech usually lacks the pulsing regularity of music, but when parents talk to babies, they instinctively switch to melodic and rhythmic intonations "as a way of communicating emotional messages," Honing said.

Infants can perceive anger, happiness and sadness from a caregiver's cooing and baby babble, he said.

A study last year found that babies as young as 5 months can distinguish an upbeat tune, such as "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, from other gloomy tunes.

At a structural level, certain conversation protocols require rhythmic synchrony and are likely unique to humans, Winkler said. While other animals, such as birds and frogs, do have significant auditory skills, few, if any, perceive rhythm or carry on a dialogue, he said.

"If you ever talk to someone who will really not synchronize with you, for example like with a computer," Winkler said, "you have the feeling that you can not communicate."

An infant's perception of rhythm may make him receptive to the distinctively human tendency to teach, Winkler said. "Apes never teach," he said, explaining that baby apes learn by simply emulating their parents. But humans engage in a sing-song form of information exchange, where the recipient of new knowledge must respond in a synchronous way (not too fast, not too slow) to convey understanding.

Therefore, evolution may have favored brains wired to rock for learning purposes, said Winkler, and "music went along for the ride."
__________________

Comments

  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
    The use of a rock beat doesn't really tell us much, they'd respond to a dance beat as well. Of course it's instinctual to react to a beat, because you can feel it yourself when loud music is played, the want/need to dance. I call gimmick for the whole rock thing.
  • AxlVanHagarAxlVanHagar Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
  • benson111benson111 Eater of Fine Cupcakes
    edited January 2009
    Lolicat;1875718 said:
    The use of a rock beat doesn't really tell us much, they'd respond to a dance beat as well. Of course it's instinctual to react to a beat, because you can feel it yourself when loud music is played, the want/need to dance. I call gimmick for the whole rock thing.
    Ya think? ;)
  • back_blowsback_blows Washed Up
    edited January 2009
    Babies got a whole lot cooler in my books.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
    When my wife was carrying our twins they were called Twin A (the one furthest down so the first to come out) and Twin B. Twin B was a live wire. Moving all the time. Back flips, pirouettes. You name it. Totally freaked grandma out. I mean you could see the movement visibly even if my wife had loose clothing on.

    Twin A was really laid back. Sometimes we worried about him.

    And then -- about a month before they were born we went to a concert, Eric Johnson opening for Steve Miller. When Steve went into "Jungle Love," my wife sat up with a startled look and said "he's dancing!" Sure enough, Twin A was dancing. Not random movements, right in time to the music.

    Maybe I shoulda put this is in the Concert Stories thread. That thread needs resurrecting anyway.

    Seemed like it illustrated your point, though, Benson -- and shows I agree completely, not that my opinion should influence scientific research one way or another. :p

    Oh, and Twin A is the drummer. They both play piano, and Twin B plays trumpet and guitar.
  • King_NuthinKing_Nuthin Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
    This isn't exactly neuroscience, well ok, it may be, but spend 10 minutes with a baby and you can figure out most of this stuff on your own.

    I got really depressed when my 3 month old rejected the Beach Boys on Friday night. He loves just about everything else and since I can only baby talk so much I spend most of our time together singing to him.
  • AxlVanHagarAxlVanHagar Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
    OldFogey;1876936 said:
    When Steve went into "Jungle Love," my wife sat up with a startled look and said "he's dancing!" Sure enough, Twin A was dancing. Not random movements, right in time to the music.

    .

    Once again Fogey wins the internet. That story rocks! Literally :cool:
  • JukeBoxHeroJukeBoxHero Headliner
    edited January 2009
    AxlVanHagar;1877031 said:
    Once again Fogey wins the internet. That story rocks! Literally :cool:
    May his children groove forever!:)
  • citric_bulletscitric_bullets Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
    Lolicat;1875718 said:
    The use of a rock beat doesn't really tell us much, they'd respond to a dance beat as well. Of course it's instinctual to react to a beat, because you can feel it yourself when loud music is played, the want/need to dance. I call gimmick for the whole rock thing.
    Not the point. The standard 4/4 rock beat is just an excellent way to test if someone is actually comprehending rhythm, as the accented beats (with snare hits on 2 and 4) are the ones that matter. They can omit the hi-hat completely without actually changing the rhythm. You can even get rid of the kick drum too. The accented beats will still be 2 and 4.

    The fact that it seems human babies come standard with an understanding of rhythm is awesome.
  • MronoCMronoC Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
    citric_bullets;1877083 said:
    Not the point. The standard 4/4 rock beat is just an excellent way to test if someone is actually comprehending rhythm, as the accented beats (with snare hits on 2 and 4) are the ones that matter. They can omit the hi-hat completely without actually changing the rhythm. You can even get rid of the kick drum too. The accented beats will still be 2 and 4.

    The fact that it seems human babies come standard with an understanding of rhythm is awesome.
    didn't they say the major effect came from omission of the downbeat? Wouldn't that be the kick at 1 and 3?
  • citric_bulletscitric_bullets Road Warrior
    edited January 2009
    MronoC;1883147 said:
    didn't they say the major effect came from omission of the downbeat? Wouldn't that be the kick at 1 and 3?
    Ah true. When I typed that schpiel out I was mostly working off of what I could remember, and then extrapolated from that. Yeah, the downbeat would be the kick on 1.
Sign In or Register to comment.