Moving to a Beat May Sharpen Language Processing
(Ivanhoe Newswire) –Researchers have known for a while now that moving to a steady beat requires synchronization between the parts of the brain responsible for hearing and movement, but now researchers are saving that people who have more rhythm show more consistent brain responses to speech than those with less rhythm.
For the study, researchers at Northwestern University examined 100 teenagers from the Chicago area. They were instructed to listen and tap their finger along to a metronome. The teens’ tapping accuracy was computed based on how closely their taps aligned in time with the “tic-toc” of the metronome.
For the second test, researchers used a technique called electroencephalography (EEG) to record brainwaves from a major brain hub for sound processing as the teens listened to the synthesized sound “da” repeated periodically over a 30 minute period. Researchers then calculated how similarly the nerve cells in the region responded each time the “da” sound was repeated.
"Across this population of adolescents, the more accurate they were at tapping along to the beat, the more consistent their brains' response to the 'da' syllable was. Rhythm is inherently a part of music and language. It may be that musical training, with an emphasis on rhythmic skills, exercises the auditory-system, leading to strong sound-to-meaning associations that are so essential in learning to read,” Professor Nina Kraus, PhD, was quoted as saying.
For more information, go to: http://www.sfn.org/Press-Room/News-Release-Archives/2013/Ability-to-Move-to-a-Beat-Linked-to-Brains-Response-to-Speech
SOURCE: The Journal of Neuroscience, September 2013
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