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Jessica Phillips-Silver and Laurel J Trainor (2005)

Feeling the beat: movement influences infant rhythm perception

Science, 308(5727):1430.

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 thirdbeat 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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