Non-human animals detect the rhythmic structure of a familiar tune

  • Authors
  • Celma-Miralles A, Toro JM
  • UPF authors
  • TORO SOTO, JUAN MANUEL; CELMA MIRALLES, ALEXANDRE;
  • Type
  • Scholarly articles
  • Journal títle
  • Psychonomic Bulletin and Review
  • Publication year
  • 2020
  • Number
  • 27
  • Pages
  • 694-699
  • ISSN
  • 1069-9384
  • Publication State
  • Published
  • Abstract
  • The musical motives of a song emerge from the temporal arrangement of discrete tones. These tones normally have few durational values, and are organized in structured groups to create metrical patterns. In the present study we show that the ability to detect the rhythmic structure of a song, while ignoring surface changes, is also present in other species. We familiarized rats (Rattus norvegicus) with an excerpt of the Happy Birthday song. During test, we presented the animals with (i) the same excerpt of the familiarization, (ii) a constant-pitch version of the excerpt that reduced melodic intervals to only one tone (i.e., isotonic) but preserved rhythmic structure, and (iii) a rhythmically scrambled version of the excerpt that preserved the melodic intervals. The animals discriminated the rhythmically scrambled version from the versions that preserved the original rhythm. This demonstrates that rats were sensitive to at least some parts of the rhythmic structure of the tune. Together with previous findings, the present set of results suggests that the emergence of rhythmic musical universals might be based on principles shared with other species.
  • Complete citation
  • Celma-Miralles A, Toro JM. Non-human animals detect the rhythmic structure of a familiar tune. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 2020; (27): 694-699.
Bibliometric indicators
  • 2 times cited Scopus
  • 2 times cited WOS
  • Índex Scimago de 2.512(2020)