Many experimental studies have shown which areas of the brain are active when someone hears music and rhythms vary. However, the neural mechanism that underlies the brain, learns to maintain rhythm – and then keeps it after the music stops – unknown. Bose and
his colleagues are exploring what could be this neuronal mechanism.
Using neurobiological principles, researchers have developed a mathematical model of a group of neurons that can work together to study the rhythm of rhythmic music and maintain rhythm after the stimulus is stopped.
This model shows how network neurons can function as “nerve metronomes” by accurately measuring the time interval between beats with tens of milliseconds accuracy. This metronome is based on the rhythmic patterns of brain activity called gamma oscillations to track time.
We listen to music and in a few steps our body moves in rhythm,” Rincell said. “Our model shows how the brain can learn rhythm and learn it so quickly.
The researchers then planned to test their models using real psychoacoustic experiments and an electroencephalogram (EEG) test that showed activity in the human brain.
This experiment shows how accurately the model can reflect the actual neural mechanism involved in beat learning.
Our findings provide new insights into how the brain can synthesize previous knowledge to make predictions about upcoming events, especially in terms of musical rhythms and length of stay, Bose said.
In addition to music, new models can help to better understand conditions that might be less accurate in assessing weather, such as Parkinson’s disease.