The Power of Rhythm

As a long-time fan of Trance, I don’t find this surprising at all

The researchers found that the sensory-evoked brain wave measured at the back of the skull over the region where vision is processed, peak each time the image was presented, but when the image was presented simultaneously with the missing drumbeat, the electrical response evoked by the picture was bigger than when the image was presented out of rhythm or flashed on the screen in silence. These visual circuits are more responsive when the image appears in synch with the auditory rhythm.

This region of the brain processes the earliest steps in vision, the circuits that detect visual input. This means that our perception of the external world entering our mind through our eyes is affected by the rhythm of what we hear. Something seen at a point precisely in beat with an auditory rhythm is more likely to be perceived than if it appears out of synch with the rhythm. This gating of visual input by auditory rhythm does not require a prolonged meditation on the rhythm to cause the person to enter into some sort of a trance-like state; the effects are nearly instantaneous. “Within a few measures of music your brain waves start to get in synch with the rhythm,” Schirmer says.

Of course this could just be a fancy way of saying, “It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.”