RPPW edition:11 location:Dublin (Ireland) date:1-5 July 2007
Timing, sequencing and executive control processes are in a more or lesser extent requirements to generate simple or more complex rhythmic movements (Krampe et al., 2005). These processes are found to develop differentially across age and expertise levels, because of the neural changes related to aging and expertise. The present study is part of an ongoing study involving fMRI. The focus of this poster is therefore primarily on methodological issue, describing the approach, presenting first training data and pilot scan results. The goal of the present study is to evaluate the improvement rate and amount in isochronous and rhythmic tapping movements. The isochrounous tasks consisted of producing intervals of different target durations: A (short, 400ms), B (medium, 800ms) and C (long, 1200 ms). In rhythmic tapping, these three target durations were combined to form two sequences: a dominant pattern ABC, and a non-dominant pattern ACB. To maximize executive control demands, these two patterns were combined to form the third sequence: ABC-ACB. Younger (20-30 years) and older (+65) musicians and non-musicians (i.e., novices) produced wrist tapping movements in these six experimental conditions over 8 sessions. Their performance was assessed at pre- (session 2), mid- (Session 5) and post-training (Session 8) evaluation points. No difference was expected between groups for performance in the isochronous tasks, but age and expertise would have a substantial impact on the production of simple and more complex rhythms and the improvement rate and amount. Preliminary results suggest that, for all groups, good performance was reached quite early in practice, whereas the rhythm tasks posed difficulties, specifically for the older novices. The results are discussed in relation to developmental changes in the brain, resulting from age, as well as the impact of long-term training in real-life expertise.