January 29th, 2009

Baby’s got beat

Rhythm seems to be hardwired.

10 Responses to “Baby’s got beat”

  1. quickjustice Says:

    The human heartbeat explains a great many things, including this. Sixty seconds in a minute? Sixty minutes in an hour? Loop back to the human heartbeat. Our bodies and brains pulse with the heartbeat. It dominates human cultures everywhere.

    The heartbeat? The question– and the answer.

  2. dane Says:

    No wonder I can’t dance

  3. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    qj – that was my first thought, but the absence of this phenomenon in other mammals, even the apes, suggests that there is at least something heritable to start from. The heartbeat may be the pattern that the brain adopts, as each language is the pattern the pre-programmed infant acquires.

    But yes, it is probably not accidental that our smallest common unit of time is close to the interval of the heartbeat.

  4. SteveH Says:

    I’m betting theres a connection between the invention of music and the unique ability of humans to weep and laugh. Its a gift of our sophisticated emotions.

  5. csimon Says:

    So fascinating! So compelling!

    (and so “not-more-Madoff!”)

  6. Holmes Says:

    I wonder if a child has these traits just prior to being born.

  7. Sig Says:

    Our son (now 11 months old) was always a kicker in the womb, and fairly rhythmic. Now that his freedom of motion is greater, he dances all of the time, to virtually any music he hears. It’s more rhythmic swaying than what most would call dancing, perhaps, but it’s an immediate reaction to music.

    I haven’t found much that he doesn’t dance to, but some things he absolutely adores. I was gratified to discover that he’s a born Joe Satriani fan.


  8. sergey Says:

    There are lots of other rhythms in phisiology of all animal species except heartbeat, but short-periodic rhythms associated with human cerebral cortex, like alpha-rhythm and theta-rhythm, are more important to music, poetry and dancing than anything else. And these rhythms are certainly innate. Ability to play with these rhythms is also can be genetically pre-programmed, as inheritance of musical abilities indicates, and I am inclined to believe to blacks when they assert that we, whities, are not as capable to feel the rhythms as they are.

  9. MakeGoodMoney Says:

    great post!!!

  10. njcommuter Says:

    You may be interested in Oliver Sacks’s Musicophilia in which he relates (among many other things) how the ability to lock onto a musical rhythm probably saved his life.

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