As part of the Psychology Seminar Series, Dr Rocha discusses where our rhythmic skills come from
Our proclivity for moving to rhythmic music is fairly unique to our species, universal across cultures, and brings many of us great enjoyment. Our understanding of where these rhythmic skills came from, what they are for, and how they develop, is still in its infancy.
However, we spend much of our time in utero experiencing the rhythm of our mother’s gait, and from our earliest hours, we are cradled and rocked steadily in our mother's arms. In this talk, I argue that experience of rhythmic vestibular stimulation from our inherently unstable bipedal locomotion, and the consequential protracted time course of carrying of our infants, might be the basis of our audio motor rhythmic tendencies.
I will present studies that support a role of both self-propelled locomotion, and experience of being carried by the ambulating caregiver, on an infant's ability to move in time with an auditory beat (sensorimotor synchronisation), and evidence for a direct influence of the rate at which we experience such stimulation on the rhythms that we naturally produce (spontaneous motor tempo). Finally, I will share some preliminary insights from an ongoing large-scale longitudinal study of infant motor and neural entrainment.
Sinead Rocha is a researcher at the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at the University of Cambridge. Her work is focused on the development of rhythm perception, production and sensorimotor synchronisation in infants - using a blend of EMG, EEG and behavioural techniques. Prior to moving to Cambridge, Sinead completed a PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London looking at the role of the vestibular system, and how the experience of being carried by caregivers influences our early rhythmic tendencies.
Dates & times
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