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Study shows rats too find rhythmic beats irresistible, a skill which was previously thought to be unique to humans

A study published on Friday found that rats have the ability to find rhythmic beats irresistible, which was previously thought to be unique to humans and that they, too, instinctively bop their heads to music.

According to the researchers, the paper titled ‘Spontaneous beat synchronisation in rats: Neural dynamics and motor entrainment’ provides additional insight into not only the animal mind but also the origins of our own dance and music. Furthermore, for the first time, the study published in the journal Science Advances demonstrates innate beat synchronisation in animals.

‘Rats displayed innate – that is, without any training or prior exposure to music – beat synchronisation most distinctly within 120-140 bpm (beats per minute), to which humans also exhibit the clearest beat synchronisation,’ said Dr Hirokazu Takahashi of the University of Tokyo.

He added, since the auditory cortex, the region of our brain that processes sound is also within this range of bpm they were able to explain the phenomenon using their ‘mathematical model of brain adaptation.’ He also went on to explain, ‘Music exerts a strong appeal to the brain and has profound effects on emotion and cognition.’


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