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Developmental changes in auditory temp sensitivity and preferred tempo

by Mercier, Ann Mary

Abstract (Summary)
J. Devin McAuley, Advisor The study examined the relationship between developmental changes in preferred motor tempo and tempo sensitivity to test two hypotheses about aging and timing proposed by McAuley, Jones, Holub, Johnston, & Miller (2006): a preferred period hypothesis and an entrainment region hypothesis. Four groups of listeners (4 - 5, 6 - 7, 8 - 9, and 18+ years) were asked to tap at their preferred rate and make judgments about the relative tempo of standardcomparison isochronous tone sequence pairs. For the tempo discrimination task, three standard tempi (300, 600, and 900 ms inter-onset intervals) were crossed with three different length comparison sequences (1, 3, or 5 intervals) which were yoked to the standard using comparison rates of ± 6 %, ± 12 %, and ± 18 %. Findings related to the preferred period hypothesis were mixed; age-related changes consistent with the hypothesis were observed in preferred motor tempo but there was no age-related shift in tempo sensitivity. Preferred motor tempo slowed with increased age but best performance in tempo sensitivity occurred at the intermediate 600 ms standard tempo for all age groups. Tempo sensitivity findings were consistent with the entrainment region hypothesis. Overall, tempo sensitivity improved with age except in the youngest age group. The greatest age-related improvements in tempo sensitivity were observed at the slowest 900 ms tempo, consistent with a widening of the entrainment region with age. Improvements in tempo sensitivity associated with increasing the number of comparison intervals were generally consistent with Miller and McAuley (2005) but the amount of improvement varied with both age and tempo. Benefits were most prevalent at the fastest 300 ms tempo, with the least benefits obtained at the slowest 900 ms tempo. However, the youngest age group only showed improvement at the intermediate tempo (600 ms) when increasing from one iii intervals. In conclusion, developmental changes seen in preferred motor tempo are not reflected in optimal tempo sensitivity. Developmental improvements in tempo sensitivity appear to result mainly from two factors: (1) a greater capacity to track a wider range of tempi in the environment, especially at slower rates, and (2) increasing the amount of temporal information in the comparison sequence especially at faster rates. Overall, the general findings of this study provide support for an entrainment theory of timing and event-tracking. iv
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:tempo music child development

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