Like other physical movements, speech appears to be a function of our ability to process rhythm. How does our external perception of sound affect and/or reflect our internal perception of sound? How do our rhythmic movements on a sensory level affect and/or reflect our rhythmic movements on a neural level? If the brain first evolved to control movement, is it possible that rhythm is not just a basic building block of movement, but also a foundational element of cognition?
ANDY HENION (FUTURITY) | KIDS WHO STUTTER CAN’T HEAR THE BEAT
“Stuttering has primarily been interpreted as a speech motor difficulty, but this is the first study that shows it’s related to a rhythm perception deficit—in other words, the ability to perceive and keep a beat[.]”
Andy Henion (Futurity) | Kids who stutter can’t hear the beat
ANDREW MYERS (FUTURITY) | NEURONS SEND ‘RHYTHMIC SIGNALS’ DOWN SPINE
Our main finding is that the motor cortex is a flexible pattern generator, and sends rhythmic signals down the spinal cord…The brain has had an evolutionary goal to drive movements that help us survive. The primary motor cortex is key to these functions. The patterns of activity it displays presumably derive from evolutionarily older rhythmic motions such as swimming and walking. Rhythm is a basic building block of movement.
Andrew Myers (Futurity) | Neurons send ‘rhythmic signals’ down spine
DANIEL WOLPERT (TED) | THE REAL REASON FOR BRAINS
Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert starts from a surprising premise: the brain evolved, not to think or feel, but to control movement. In this entertaining, data-rich talk he gives us a glimpse into how the brain creates the grace and agility of human motion.
“We have a brain for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to produce adaptable and complex movements. There is no other reason to have a brain. Think about it. Movement is the only way you have of affecting the world around you … So think about communication — speech, gestures, writing, sign language — they’re all mediated through contractions of your muscles. So it’s really important to remember that sensory, memory and cognitive processes are all important, but they’re only important to either drive or suppress future movements.”
Daniel Wolpert (TED) | The real reason for brains