The Effects of Music and Dance Training on Beat Perception and Production Abilities in Parkinson’s Disease

The Effects of Music and Dance Training on Beat Perception and Production Abilities in Parkinson’s Disease

Presenter Name:Prisca Hsu

School/Affiliation:Western University

Co-Authors:Prisca Hsu, Emily A. Ready, Jessica A. Grahn

Abstract:The vast majority of humans naturally perceive and move to a musical beat. This behavior can be observed through clapping, tapping, and dancing. Yet, the accuracy of this seemingly effortless behavior varies widely across individuals. Beat perception and production accuracy are positively impacted by music and dance training but negatively impacted by neurological changes in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). In this study, we assessed whether the positive effects of music training in healthy adults also apply to PD patients and investigated how previous music and dance training could potentially mitigate their motor impairments. We used the Beat Alignment Test (BAT) to assess beat perception and production abilities among 450 participants, including healthy younger adults, healthy older adults, and people with early-stage PD, across varying levels of music and dance training. We found that people with early-stage PD demonstrated no perception deficits but were impaired on beat production compared to healthy adults. PD patients with over three years of music training demonstrated more accurate beat production abilities compared to the PD group with minimal music training. These results suggest that music training could be associated with more accurate motor behaviors and a lowered degree of motor impairment in early-stage PD.

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