Can rhythm-mediated reward boost learning, memory, and social connection? Perspectives for future research

A. Fiveash*, L. Ferreri, F. L. Bouwer, A. Kösem, S. Moghimi, A. Ravignani, P. E. Keller, B. Tillmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


Studies of rhythm processing and of reward have progressed separately, with little connection between the two. However, consistent links between rhythm and reward are beginning to surface, with research suggesting that synchronization to rhythm is rewarding, and that this rewarding element may in turn also boost this synchronization. The current mini review shows that the combined study of rhythm and reward can be beneficial to better understand their independent and combined roles across two central aspects of cognition: 1) learning and memory, and 2) social connection and interpersonal synchronization; which have so far been studied largely independently. From this basis, it is discussed how connections between rhythm and reward can be applied to learning and memory and social connection across different populations, taking into account individual differences, clinical populations, human development, and animal research. Future research will need to consider the rewarding nature of rhythm, and that rhythm can in turn boost reward, potentially enhancing other cognitive and social processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105153
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Reward
  • Rhythm
  • Social connection
  • Temporal expectation
  • Temporal prediction
  • Humans
  • Cognition


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