The Dutch TV program Boeken introduced the Cockatoo-video as the most fun and intriguing video of the year. Tijs Goldschmidt (a biologist and writer known from, e.g., Darwin's Dreampond) tells about the phenomenon of beat induction and why it is so relevant to cognitive scientists (see also an earlier blog).
In his upcoming book called Music, Language and the Brain, Ani Patel chose beat induction — referring to it as ‘beat-based rhythm processing’— as a key area in music-language research. He proposes it an important candidate in demonstrating "that there is a fundamental aspect of music cognition that is not a byproduct of cognitive mechanisms that also serve other, more clearly adaptive, domains (e.g. auditory scene analysis or language)." (Patel, 2008).
I couldn't agree more: beat induction could well turn out to be a key cognitive process in the evolution of music, and arguably central to the origins of music.*
With regard to the video mentioned above: Patel’s group is currently systematically filming the Cockatoo for analyses.
P.S. Yet another item from Dutch TV on beat induction:
*1994 demo on beat induction.