Paper on rhythmic abilities in humans and animals out in Phil Trans

Two years after the fabulous workshop organised by Henkjan Honing, Sonja Kotz, Andrea Ravignani, and Michael Greenfield, the special theme issue on rhythm and rhythmic interactions came out in Philosophical Transactions B, including a paper co-authored by me on how to test rhythmic abilities in human and non-human animals. More on this in my previous post about the preprint. Note that the preprint is identical to the published version and open access.

Bouwer, F.L., Nityananda V., Rouse, A. A., & ten Cate, C. (2021). Rhythmic abilities in humans and non-human animals: a review and recommendations from a methodological perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 376, 20200335. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2020.0335

Rhythmic behaviour is ubiquitous in both human and non-human animals, but it is unclear whether the cognitive mechanisms underlying the specific rhythmic behaviours observed in different species are related. Laboratory experiments combined with highly controlled stimuli and tasks can be very effective in probing the cognitive architecture underlying rhythmic abilities. Rhythmic abilities have been examined in the laboratory with explicit and implicit perception tasks, and with production tasks, such as sensorimotor synchronization, with stimuli ranging from isochronous sequences of artificial sounds to human music. Here, we provide an overview of experimental find- ings on rhythmic abilities in human and non-human animals, while critically considering the wide variety of paradigms used. We identify several gaps in what is known about rhythmic abilities. Many bird species have been tested on rhythm perception, but research on rhythm production abilities in the same birds is lacking. By contrast, research in mammals has primarily focused on rhythm production rather than perception. Many experiments also do not differentiate between possible components of rhythmic abilities, such as processing of single temporal intervals, rhythmic patterns, a regular beat or hierarchical metrical structures. For future research, we suggest a careful choice of paradigm to aid cross-species comparisons, and a critical consideration of the multifaceted abilities that underlie rhythmic behaviour.