3.3.1 Resonance model for temporal selectivity - "harmonic oscillator"
The approach taken by Van Noorden and Moelants (1999) is to consider the human rhythm perception system as (a reflection of) a physical system. It is a characteristic of all physical bodies in nature that they react to an alternating force by a certain amount of vibration. The amplitude of this vibration depends on the strength of the alternating force, the mass of the physical body, and the force that tries to restore the body back to its original position. The mass and the restoring force together determine its resonance frequency. If the frequency of the external alternating force is close to this frequency, the body will vibrate more intensely than when the frequency is further away. The loss of motion energy during the vibration, or damping, depends on the resistance of the body. The larger the damping, the less intense will be the vibration at the resonance frequency, yet the range of neighboring frequencies where the influence of the resonance frequency is felt will be relatively broader. It should be clear that we consider the approach with the harmonic oscillator a simplification of reality. If the rhythm perception system reflects the characteristics of our physical body, one has to observe that that body is a complex system with many modes of vibration and thus shows a much more complex behavior than the simple mass-spring system that is actually modeled by the resonance curve.