Same beat set to different tunes changes walkers' pace

July 10, 2013

Personal tastes in music have little to do with how we keep time to a tune while walking, according to research published July 10 by Marc Leman and colleagues from Ghent University, Belgium in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Most people synchronize their steps to the beat of their tunes when they listen to music on a walk. In the current study, researchers found that even when excerpts of music had identical tempo and beat, other acoustic features influenced walkers' stride and speed.

Participants in the study heard samples of 52 different types of music that all had the same tempo and a 4-beat meter during a walk, but their stride lengthened in response to some tunes and was shorter in response to others. These differences in stride caused an overall difference in the pace of their walk.

After the experiment, participants rated the music they had heard with bipolar adjectives like bad or good, aggressive or tender, familiar or unfamiliar. Music which increased walking speed the most was most frequently rated bad, aggressive, loud or fast, whereas emotions, familiarity or taste had little correlation to the music's effect on pace. Pop-techno sounds were more prominent in the excerpts that increased pace, compared to jazz-reggae on tunes that decreased walking pace. Leman adds "Music tones up or tones down your walking stride depending on musical style, even when the tempo is the same. This offers perspectives for sports and physical rehabilitation."
-end-
Citation: Leman M, Moelants D, Varewyck M, Styns F, van Noorden L, et al. (2013) Activating and Relaxing Music Entrains the Speed of Beat Synchronized Walking. PLOS ONE 8(7): e67932. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067932

Financial Disclosure: Funding by a Methusalem grant from the Flemish Government, Belgium, and a BOF grant from Ghent University. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0067932

Disclaimer: This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLOS ONE. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.

About PLOS ONE: PLOS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLOS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.

All works published in PLOS ONE are Open Access. Everything is immediately available--to read, download, redistribute, include in databases and otherwise use--without cost to anyone, anywhere, subject only to the condition that the original authors and source are properly attributed. For more information about PLOS ONE relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and our embargo policy, see the everyONE blog at http://everyone.plos.org/media.

PLOS

Related Walking Articles from Brightsurf:

Why walking to work may be better for you than a casual stroll
Walking with a purpose -- especially walking to get to work -- makes people walk faster and consider themselves to be healthier, a new study has found.

Spinal cord gives bio-bots walking rhythm
Miniature biological robots are making greater strides than ever, thanks to the spinal cord directing their steps.

These feet were made for walking
Many of us take our feet for granted, but they have a challenging job in the biomechanics department.

Walking sharks discovered in the tropics
Four new species of tropical sharks that use their fins to walk are causing a stir in waters off northern Australia and New Guinea.

Micro implants could restore standing and walking
Researchers at the University of Alberta are focused on restoring lower-body function after severe spinal injuries using a tiny spinal implant.

Walking changes vision
When people walk around, they process visual information differently than at rest: the peripheral visual field shows enhanced processing.

Virtual walking system for re-experiencing the journey of another person
Virtual-reality researchers have developed a virtual-walking system that records a person's walking and re-plays it with vision and foot vibrations.

A large study indicates how cities can promote walking for travel
Coinciding with the European Mobility Week, a study performed in seven European cities focuses on walking for travel, a strategy to increase physical activity in cities.

Robotic cane shown to improve stability in walking
By adding electronics and computation technology to a simple cane that has been around since ancient times, Columbia Engineering researchers have transformed it into a 21st century robotic device that can provide light-touch assistance in walking to the aged and others with impaired mobility.

Water walking -- The new mode of rock skipping
Utah State University's Splash Lab not only reveals the physics of how elastic spheres interact with water, but it also lays the foundation for the future design of water-walking drones.

Read More: Walking News and Walking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.