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Implicit rhythmic abilities in children

Implicit rhythmic abilities in children

Name:Antoine Guinamard

School/Affiliation:University of Lille & University of Montreal

Co-Authors:Simone Dalla Bella, Sylvain Clément, Nicholas E.V. Foster, Valentin Bégel, Sonja A. Kotz, Severine Samson, Delphine Dellacherie

Virtual or In-person:In-person


Processing of rhythmic sequences plays a crucial role in many daily activities. The ability to extract the temporal structure of a sound sequence (e.g., speech or music) is linked to cognitive development, and poor rhythmic abilities are found in many neurodevelopmental disorders. The rhythm of auditory events can be processed explicitly when we judge the temporal properties of an auditory sequence, such as its regularity, or implicitly when temporal information is processed incidentally during non-rhythmic tasks. Implicit rhythmic abilities are quite well documented in adults. However, little is known about these abilities and their relationships with explicit rhythmic skills and other cognitive functions in children. In this study, Children aged 7-13 (n = 100) were assessed in 1) a new gamified version of an implicit rhythmic task, 2) explicit rhythmic tasks, and 3) tests assessing attentional and executive functions. As predicted, the reduction of reaction times observed after a regular rhythmic sequence, compared to an irregular sequence in the implicit task suggests that children could process implicitly temporal regularity. This effect was independent of explicit rhythmic abilities but was modulated by individual differences in attention and executive functioning. Moreover, performance in the implicit timing task was independent of age, while a dependance on age was found in the explicit timing tasks. These results will be discussed in light of different developmental trajectories for implicit and explicit timing abilities in typically developing children and may open new clinical or interventional perspectives for children with neurodevelopmental disorders associated with rhythmic deficits.

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