Cultural upbringing can have a huge impact on rhythmic cognition

A study conducted by researchers from the United States and Germany sheds light on a fascinating phenomenon: our cultural background plays a significant role in shaping our preferences for specific rhythms. 

Our sense of rhythm can be influenced by a variety of cultural factors, leading to slight variations in rhythmic perception and expression across different cultural contexts. This phenomenon highlights the dynamic and diverse nature of music and rhythm as cultural phenomena, shaped by the traditions, practices, and experiences of specific communities. 

The groundbreaking conclusion reached by researchers from MIT and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics emerged from an extensive experiment involving 39 groups of participants hailing from 15 countries. This diverse pool of participants offered a rich tapestry of cultural perspectives, allowing researchers to explore the influence of cultural background on rhythmic preferences with unprecedented depth. However, the researchers discovered significant deviations between the musical sequences created by the volunteers and the original compositions, pointing to the presence of underlying biases in rhythmic perception. 

For instance, American volunteers demonstrated a propensity towards producing rhythms characterized by integer ratios, such as 1:1:2 and 2:3:3. These rhythmic patterns are commonly found in Western music traditions and reflect cultural norms and preferences prevalent in American musical contexts. By unraveling these country-specific rhythmic biases, the study sheds new light on the intricate relationship between culture and musical perception. 

Photo Credits : Photographie FatCamera / Getty Images©  

With ETX / DailyUp

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