Time and Awareness: a symposium and a workshop

Dec 18 (Fri), 2015 (Symposium: 2 - 4pm, Workshop: 4:20 - 6:40pm)
The University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus, 
Room #113, Building #3 

Symposium (2pm - 4pm)

"Without it no music: Cognition, biology and the origins of musicality"

Henkjan Honing, University of Amsterdam 

Certain cognitive capacities such as language and music are viewed as typically human. However, we still know very little about in how far other species share one or more of the basic mechanisms that constitute musicality. To reveal such common mechanisms requires employing a bottom-up perspective that focuses on the constituent capacities underlying musicality. Instead of asking which species are musical, we should ask how musicality works, what the necessary ingredients of musicality are, which of these are shared with other species and how they evolved. This type of approach has already yielded important insights in the domains of animal cognition and language evolution, and I am convinced it will bring major progress in the domain of musicality. 

Honing, H. et al. (2015) Phil Trans B. doi:10.1098/rstb.2014.0088

"Ideomotor action: Neurophysiological basis and functional consequences "

Florian WaszakUniversité Paris Descartes Universite

Ideomotor theory posits that actions are selected on the basis of their effects in order to achieve a desired goal. I will present two experiments supporting the assertion that actions and their effects both become coded in ideomotor representations. One of these experiments studies, by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation, (i) how the motor system is activated by action-related sounds that are newly acquired and (ii) whether these sounds are represented with reference to the action goal or with respect to parameters related to the specific movements. The other experiment investigates by means of fMRI whether performing an action results in the activation of brain areas representing the sensory effects usually evoked by the action. Furthermore, I will present an experiment studying a common perceptual consequences of ideomotor actions: sensory attenuation. The experiment addresses the question of whether sensory attenuation is truly a perceptual phenomenon or rather due to a shift of the observer’s response criterion. Finally, I will try to bring the elements of these three experiments together to suggest a new account of sensory attenuation and other perceptual consequences of action effect anticipation. 

Workshop (4:20pm - 6:40pm)

"Can birds perceive rhythmic patterns?"

Henkjan Honing, University of Amsterdam 

In collaboration with the group of Carel ten Cate (Leiden University) I have done several studies probing rhythm perception in zebra finches and budgerigarsIn these experiments birds were trained to distinguish a regular from an irregular pattern of beats and then tested on various tempo transformations of these stimuli. The preliminary results show that both species have a reduced discrimination after tempo transformations. This suggests that, as was found in earlier studies, they attended mainly to local temporal features of the stimuli, and not to their overall regularity. However, some individuals of both species showed an additional sensitivity to the more global pattern if some local features were left unchanged. In this presentation I’ll present our results and will discuss the consequences for theories of musicality.

Van der Aa, J., Honing, H., & ten Cate, C. (2015). The perception of regularity in an isochronous stimulus in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and humans. Behavioural Processes, 115, 37–45. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.02.018

ten Cate, C., Spierings, M., Hubert, J. & Honing, H. (in preparation). Can birds perceive rhythmic patterns? A review and experiments on a songbird and a parrot species.

"Two-edged blade of musical training: virtuosity and dystonia"
Shinichi Furuya, Sophia University 

Outstanding sensorimotor skills of musicians have attracted people in the world over centuries. Nimble, accurate, efficient, and dexterous movements are outcomes of neuromuscular adaptations endowed through early and long-term musical training. However, repetition of precise motor actions for years sometimes triggers movement disorders such as task-specific focal dystonia and tremor. The present talk focuses on three issues covering key aspects of musical training; movement reorganization at the musculoskeletal system possessing a large number of degrees of freedom through musical training, neuromuscular determinants of the inter-individual differences in motor skills among highly-skilled musicians, and novel neuro-rehabilitation normalizing maladaptive neuronal changes elicited by musician’s dystonia.

"Production of temporal intervals in a key-peck task of Bengalese finches"
Yoshimasa Seki, Aichi University

We trained Bengalese finches to peck a key 5 times along with an audio-visual metronomic cue presented successively by a constant interval. The birds showed a trend to peck the key after the stimulus onset, indicating the birds were waiting for the stimulus presentation and pecked the key following to the stimulus cue.
Then, the birds learned to peck the key twice without the stimulus cue (or, with “imaginary stimuli”) following four pecks with the cue. The peck timings were distributed around the “stimulus onset” of the “imaginary stimuli”. The results may suggest that the birds may have to memorize the rhythmic pattern from the metronomic stimulus presentation and reproduce the similar timing intervals as the metronomic stimuli because the stimulus guidance was not available in the task. We tested the birds with various constant intervals: 600, 750, 900, 1050 milliseconds and the results were consistent among the intervals. Our finding is still inconclusive to prove the “vocal learning and rhythmic synchronization” hypothesis, because we have not examined the ability of non-vocal learning species yet. Nevertheless, the results are not inconsistent with the hypothesis.

"Rhythmical turn-taking and bonding in nonhuman animals"
Noriko Katsu, Osaka University

It is well known that music and dance promote inter-personal and group bonding in humans. Recent reports have suggested that reward and emotion arising from rhythmical movement have biological origins; rhythmical movement is an energy-saving and effective means for animals to transmit vocalizations to each other. I focus on spontaneous rhythmical vocalization and movement in nonhuman animals. I introduce an example of rhythmical vocalizations called “grunts” and “girneys” in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). These soft, short vocalizations are used in face-to-face interactions; monkeys often exchange these calls before affiliative interactions, such as grooming. I will discuss possible relationships between the rhythmical component of these vocalizations and social-bonding function.

"Perception and Production of time duration around 10 seconds by rats: a cascaded delay model"
Kazuo Okanoya, Tomohiro Tanaka, Ken’ichi Nixima, & Toru Kurotani
Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan
JST, ERATO, Okanoya Emotional Information Project, Saitama, Japan

Perception and production of time duration around 10 sec is crucial in animals’ survival yet this is the range which is not easy to handle by behavioral test. We trained rats to acquire a trace conditioning in which US occurred after 15 sec of the CS offset. We also trained rats to produce 15 seconds by pressing a lever in an operant box. Neurons in the granular retrosplenial cortex (GRS) of the posterior cingulate in rats exhibit a curious architecture. Neurons in the shallow layer of the GRS show extraordinary long latency for firing when stimulated electrically. These neurons make horizontal cascade. Input from sensory thalamus enters into the shallow layer and input from the hippocampus enters into a deep layer and integrated. We hypothesized that this neural architecture (cascaded delay) can enable time buffering. Lesioning the GRS abolished the trace conditioning suggesting that time buffering is in fact performed by this circuitry. To test the hypothesis, we are examining electrophysiological properties of GRS neurons in freely moving rats. (Supported by Kakenhi #26119509 and JST-ERATO)

Prof. Kazuo Okanoya: cokanoya_at_mail.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp (_at_ -> @)

Host & Sponser: Profs. Kazuo Okanoya, Yuko Yotsumoto, Isamu Motoyoshi (The Univ. of Tokyo)