ABC Music News

Bad Varmints: Rats reportedly nod their heads to Lady Gaga’s music

LADY GAGA
ABC/Randy Holmes

Lady Gaga could now call herself the Pied Piper after a new study claimed rats might enjoy her music.

Science Advances released a peer-reviewed study by the University of Tokyo, which studied if rodents can recognize a song’s rhythm and beat. It’s been believed only humans are capable of this ability, but this new research might prove we aren’t the only animals capable of headbanging — something they called “beat synchronicity.”

Of course, researchers add animals can be trained to move to a song’s beat, but this study was looking into if the wistar rats have the “innate” capability of recognizing and responding to rhythm.

Scientists studied a bunch of rats and how they moved their heads when playing them certain songs, such as Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Maroon 5‘s “Sugar,” Queen‘s “Another One Bites the Dust” and Michael Jackson‘s “Beat It.” Researchers also threw in some Mozart.

From there, they discovered songs playing between 120 to 140 beats per minute resulted in the rats making synchronized head-bopping motions. Researchers also noted their movements were sometimes “predictive” and the rats moved before the beat.

Because of that, researchers ruled rats “could neither be characterized as being purely reactive nor be explained only by startles.” The study continued, “Regardless of whether it is reactive or predictive, this spontaneous synchronization to beats in rodents might act as an evolutional precursor for predictive synchronization to musical beats in human.”

The study notes that this research may show that beat synchronicity “is much more widespread than currently thought” — as in, not only humans are capable of it.

In the end, researchers propose that looking further into this matter may shed light on how music and dancing originated.

Survey questions, methodology and results have not been verified or endorsed by ABC News or The Walt Disney Company.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.