Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are monkeys capable of rhythmic entrainment?

Hugo Merchant Lab
On Friday 24 May 2013  Hugo Merchant (Institute of Neurobiology, Querétaro, Mexico) will give a CSCA Lecture with the title Neurophysiology of temporal and sequential processing during a synchronization-continuation tapping task. He will present a recent study investigating rhythmic entrainment in Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).

A recent study has shown that Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) are able to spontaneously synchronize their arm movements when they are paired and facing each other, suggesting that monkeys can coordinate their actions in a social setting and establish some level of rhythmic entrainment (Nagasaka et al., 2013; see earlier entry). However, the asynchronies between the pairs of tapping monkeys are positive, largely dependent on the visual input that the other monkey provides, and with little influence on the sounds that the monkeys made when tapping. The question remains of whether more closer human relatives such as the great apes, show a more sophisticated ability for rhythmic entrainment than macaques.

Macaca mulatta
Hugo Merchant will present a recent study in which two monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were trained in a synchronization-continuation tapping paradigm called a synchronization-continuation tapping task (SCT) in which auditory (A) or visual (V) cues were presented to construct the periodic target interval ranging from 0.45 to 1 second. Initially, animals synchronized their arm movements with a sensory cue by tapping on a push-button, followed by self-pacing of the target interval when the metronome was switched-off. In addition, the monkeys performed a single interval reproduction task (SIRT). We recorded the single-cell activity of 1500 neurons from the macaque medial premotor cortex (MPC) during the task performance.

The results suggest that distinct populations of cells in the MPC can encode different temporal and sequential aspects of the SCT and suggest that MPC is part of a core timing network that uses interval tuning as a signal to represent temporal processing in a variety of behavioral contexts where time is explicitly quantified.

Location: room DS.02, REC D, Nieuwe Achtergracht 129 (entrance through REC G, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130), Amsterdam.

Time: 16:00 - 17:00 hrs, followed by informal drinks. Registration is not necessary.

For more information, see the website of the CSCA. Nagasaka, Y., Chao, Z., Hasegawa, N., Notoya, T., & Fujii, N. (2013). Spontaneous synchronization of arm motion between Japanese macaques Scientific Reports, 3 DOI: 10.1038/srep01151


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