Nav: Home

Mathematical framework explores how the brain keeps a beat

May 09, 2019

A new mathematical model demonstrates how neurons in the brain could work together to learn and keep a musical beat. The framework, developed by Amitabha Bose of New Jersey Institute of Technology and Aine Byrne and John Rinzel of New York University, is described in PLOS Computational Biology.

Many experimental studies have established which brain areas are active when a person listens to music and discerns a beat. However, the neuronal mechanisms underlying the brain's ability to learn a beat--and then keep it after the music stops--are unknown. Bose and his colleagues set out to explore what these neuronal mechanisms might be.

Using neurobiological principles, the researchers built a mathematical model of a group of neurons that can cooperate to learn a musical beat from a rhythmic stimulus, and keep the beat after the stimulus stops. The model demonstrates how a network of neurons could act as a "neuronal metronome" by accurately estimating time intervals between beats within tens of millisecond accuracy. This metronome relies on rhythmic brain activity patterns known as gamma oscillations to keep track of time.

"We listen to music and within a few measures our body moves to the beat," says Rinzel. "Our model suggests how the brain might learn a rhythm and learn it so fast."

Next, the researchers plan to test their model with real-world psychoacoustic experiments and electroencephalogram (EEG) tests, which reveal activity in a person's brain. These experiments will show how accurately the model might reflect actual neuronal mechanisms involved in learning a beat.

"Our findings provide new insights into how the brain might synthesize prior knowledge to make predictions about upcoming events, specifically in the realm of musical rhythm and keeping time," Bose says. Beyond music, the new model could help improve understanding of conditions in which the ability to accurately estimate time is impaired, such as in Parkinson's disease.
-end-
Peer-reviewed / Simulation/modeling / N/A

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Computational Biology: https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006450

Citation: Bose A, Byrne Á, Rinzel J (2019) A neuromechanistic model for rhythmic beat generation. PLoS Comput Biol 15(5): e1006450. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006450

Funding: The authors A Bose and JR received no specific funding for this work. A Byrne was funded by the Swartz Foundation on a postdoctoral fellowship, http://www.theswartzfoundation.org/. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Neurons Articles:

The first 3D map of the heart's neurons
An interdisciplinary research team establishes a new technological pipeline to build a 3D map of the neurons in the heart, revealing foundational insight into their role in heart attacks and other cardiac conditions.
Mapping the neurons of the rat heart in 3D
A team of researchers has developed a virtual 3D heart, digitally showcasing the heart's unique network of neurons for the first time.
How to put neurons into cages
Football-shaped microscale cages have been created using special laser technologies.
A molecule that directs neurons
A research team coordinated by the University of Trento studied a mass of brain cells, the habenula, linked to disorders like autism, schizophrenia and depression.
Shaping the social networks of neurons
Identification of a protein complex that attracts or repels nerve cells during development.
With these neurons, extinguishing fear is its own reward
The same neurons responsible for encoding reward also form new memories to suppress fearful ones, according to new research by scientists at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.
How do we get so many different types of neurons in our brain?
SMU (Southern Methodist University) researchers have discovered another layer of complexity in gene expression, which could help explain how we're able to have so many billions of neurons in our brain.
These neurons affect how much you do, or don't, want to eat
University of Arizona researchers have identified a network of neurons that coordinate with other brain regions to influence eating behaviors.
Mood neurons mature during adolescence
Researchers have discovered a mysterious group of neurons in the amygdala -- a key center for emotional processing in the brain -- that stay in an immature, prenatal developmental state throughout childhood.
Connecting neurons in the brain
Leuven researchers uncover new mechanisms of brain development that determine when, where and how strongly distinct brain cells interconnect.
More Neurons News and Neurons Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Processing The Pandemic
Between the pandemic and America's reckoning with racism and police brutality, many of us are anxious, angry, and depressed. This hour, TED Fellow and writer Laurel Braitman helps us process it all.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Invisible Allies
As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they've come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe's biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.