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Exploring Groove and Syncopation Preference Development in Infants

Exploring Groove and Syncopation Preference Development in Infants

Name:Monica, Morrone-Sanchez

School/Affiliation:McMaster University

Co-Authors:Daniel J. Cameron, Laurel J. Trainor

Virtual or In-person:In-person


Rhythmic syncopation is a key part of the desire to move to music (groove). Previous studies have demonstrated that adults feel more groove when listening to medium syncopation rhythms compared to low or high syncopation rhythms. This effect was partially replicated in children aged 3-6, who showed a preference for medium over low syncopation. In a recent experiment, infants (6-18 months) demonstrated a preference for a single low syncopation rhythm compared to a medium syncopation one, which may suggest that preference for medium syncopation develops in the first years of life. The current study tests whether these results in infants generalize to a larger set of rhythms. Nineteen infants (aged 7 to 18 months) interacted with a touchscreen tablet that displayed identical animal images on opposite sides of the screen. Each animal image, when pressed, played either a medium syncopation rhythm or a low syncopation rhythm (pseudo-randomly from a set of 4 rhythms in each condition). Preliminary data analysis suggests that infants do not have a general preference for low or medium syncopation rhythms by this measure, although older infants in the sample may have relatively greater bias toward medium syncopation.

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