Feeling the Beat: Movement Influences Infant Rhythm Perception

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Science  03 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5727, pp. 1430
DOI: 10.1126/science.1110922

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We hear the melody in music, but we feel the beat. We demonstrate that the perception of musical rhythm is a multisensory experience in infancy. In particular, movement of the body, by bouncing on every second versus every third beat of an ambiguous auditory rhythm pattern, influences whether that auditory rhythm pattern is encoded in duple form (a march) or in triple form (a waltz). Visual information is not necessary for the effect, indicating that it likely reflects a strong, early-developing interaction between auditory and vestibular information in the human nervous system.

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