Rhythm most important in getting motor system engaged – MRI – Dr Jessica Grahn talks about music and the brain

Rhythm most important in getting motor system engaged

“…skip to the end say from about 5 minutes in for the scan data – seems that rhythm is way stickier than actual notes and melody when it comes to firing up the motor cortex – which has implications on lots of things…”


Dr. Jessica Grahn, a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in the study of music and the brain, has indeed conducted research highlighting the importance of rhythm in engaging the motor system. Her work has shed light on how rhythmic stimuli, such as music, can influence motor function and movement synchronization.

One of Dr. Grahn’s studies utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying rhythm perception and motor synchronization. The findings suggested that rhythmic stimuli activate brain regions involved in motor planning and execution, including the supplementary motor area and the basal ganglia.

Additionally, Dr. Grahn’s research has demonstrated the therapeutic potential of rhythmic stimulation for movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. By entraining motor circuits through rhythmic auditory cues, individuals with Parkinson’s disease can improve gait and reduce freezing episodes, highlighting the role of rhythm in modulating motor function.

Overall, Dr. Grahn’s work underscores the profound connection between music, rhythm, and motor function in the brain. Understanding how rhythmic stimuli engage the motor system can have implications for rehabilitation, motor learning, and the development of interventions for movement disorders.

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