Rats as sensitive as humans to Mozart’s harmonies


Japanese scientists have found that rodents beat time naturally like humans on the Sonata for two pianos (K. 448) by the Austrian composer.

Japanese scientists have found that rats, among other things, beat time at the same rate as humans. For this experiment, the researchers made the rodents listen to pieces of mozart, Lady Gaga, michael jackson Where Brown 5. And it’s on the Sonata for two pianos (K. 448) that small animals, which therefore have rather good taste, make head movements.

The mystery hovered around the “reference tempo”. So far, the favored hypothesis has been that humans naturally synchronize to tunes at 120 to 140 beats per minute (BPM). The rhythm corresponding to our walking and our perception of time suggested that this reference system varied from one species to another, depending on the frequency of the steps and their weight.

But the recent study by researchers from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo favors another track. This second hypothesis would rather go in the direction of a “reference tempo” of 120 to 140 BPM common to all species. It would depend, according to the scientists, on the neuronal activity perpetuated despite evolution.

Equipped with sensors, the lab rats listened to the various pieces of music whose BPM was between 99 and 528. And it is on Mozart’s piece, whose rhythm is 132 BPM, that the rats beat time. Just like the seven women and thirteen men participating in the experiment. A first step to know “the origins of music and dance”the researchers hope.



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