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Despite the amazing level of shared neural machinery between humans and nonhuman primates, only humans appear to sense and react to musical rhythm. This ability spontaneously occurs very early in development, and has played a major role in human culture for millennia. The goal of this project is to advance our understanding of the neural bases of rhythm perception. This research investigates the neural processes underpinning uniquely human responses to rhythm, and compares them to the neural processes underpinning more general timing abilities that are shared across species. We will measure neural activity in humans and macaques as they listen to rhythmic sequences that resemble musical rhythms by giving a sense of beat, and to sequences that are irregular and give no sense of beat. Observing human brain responses that are distinct from macaque brain responses for beat-based rhythms will help us understand the uniquely human neural machinery that gives rise to complex auditory-motor behaviours.
Dr. Jessica Grahn
Globalink Research Award
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