Motor Entrainment

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Motor entrainment is defined as the ability to entrain (i.e., consistently beat-match) body movements to music or other rhythmic, auditory stimuli.

Dancing to music is a phenomenon unique to humans, and no exact parallel to human dancing exists anywhere in the animal kingdom. However, motor entrainment does occur in other species in other unique ways. For example:

1. Patel, Iversen, Bregman and Schulz studied the sulfur-crested cockatoo bobbing its head in time to Backstreet Boys songs across a range of tempos.

2. Schachner, Brady, Pepperberg and Hauser successfully trained an African gray parrot and subsequently budgerigars to peck targets in time to auditory-visual metronome-like stimuli.

3. Zarco, Merchant, Prado and Mendez successfully trained rhesus monkeys to press buttons in time to rhythmic auditory stimuli.

(Cook, P., Rouse, A., Wilson, M., & Reichmuth, C., 2013: 1-2)