upper waypoint

Rats Have Rhythm and Can Keep the Beat to Mozart, a New Study Shows

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Small brown rat against yellow bumpy subway tiles
The study did not determine whether rats prefer Mozart to Maroon 5. (Richard Drew/AP)

Rhythm has long been thought to be a uniquely human trait, but researchers have found that rats possess the ability and can keep the beat to Mozart, a new study shows.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo found that rats’ beat synchronicity came from the time constant of their brains, not their bodies, which is similar across species.

“Rats displayed innate — that is, without any training or prior exposure to music — beat synchronization most distinctly within 120–140 bpm (beats per minute), to which humans also exhibit the clearest beat synchronization,” said University of Tokyo Associate Professor Hirokazu Takahashi.

Researchers equipped 20 rats with wireless accelerometers to measure their head movements. They were played one-minute excerpts of “Sonata for two pianos (K. 448)” by Mozart at four different speeds – 75%, 100%, 200% and 400% of the original speed.

The study focused on responses to “K. 448” by Mozart. But the study also played four other musical pieces to human and animal participants: “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, “Beat It” by Michael Jackson and “Sugar” by Maroon 5.

Sponsored

Copyright 2022 NPR.

lower waypoint
next waypoint
Zendaya Donates $100,000 to Bay Area Theater CompanyLive Review: Madonna Gives a Master Class in ‘Eras’ in San FranciscoYBCA Gallery Remains Closed; Pro-Palestinian Artists Claim Censorship‘Raymond Cooper’s Oakland’ Tells Everyday Stories of a Bygone EraA Bay Area Rapper and Software Engineer Made an AI Album in 24 HoursSan Jose's Japantown Highlights Underground Scene With 'Photo Night'John Waters Is Making His First Film in 20 Years; Aubrey Plaza to StarSex, Violence, ‘Game of Thrones’-Style Power Grabs — the New ‘Shōgun’ Has it All‘Burn Book’ Torches Tech Titans in Tale of Love and Loathing in Silicon ValleyThe Curry Puff of Spiral Dreams, From Malaysia to SF With Love