Ears for music

Published: Friday 15 November 1996

What makes a person dance to loud music? Neil Todd, a psychologist at the University of Manchester, UK, thinks that the urge has its roots inside the ears. Basing his arguments on studies on animals, Todd suggests that sacculus, a chamber in the inner ear of vertebrates is responsible for triggering the reflex movement. Loud noise, above 70 decibles, stimulates the sacculus which prompts a spinal reflex. This gives a heightened sensation of motion which forces a listener to swing to the beats of music ( New Scientist , Vol 151, No 2047).

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