Aging effects on neural processing of rhythm and meter

Sauve, Sarah A., Bolt, Emily L. W., Nozaradan, Sylvie and Zendel, Benjamin Rich (2022) Aging effects on neural processing of rhythm and meter. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 14 . ISSN 1663-4365

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Aging effects on neural processing of rhythm and meter
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When listening to musical rhythm, humans can perceive and move to beat-like metrical pulses. Recently, it has been hypothesized that meter perception is related to brain activity responding to the acoustic fluctuation of the rhythmic input, with selective enhancement of the brain response elicited at meter-related frequencies. In the current study, electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded while younger (<35) and older (>60) adults listened to rhythmic patterns presented at two different tempi while intermittently performing a tapping task. Despite significant hearing loss compared to younger adults, older adults showed preserved brain activity to the rhythms. However, age effects were observed in the distribution of amplitude across frequencies. Specifically, in contrast with younger adults, older adults showed relatively larger amplitude at the frequency corresponding to the rate of individual events making up the rhythms as compared to lower meter-related frequencies. This difference is compatible with larger N1-P2 potentials as generally observed in older adults in response to acoustic onsets, irrespective of meter perception. These larger low-level responses to sounds have been linked to processes by which age-related hearing loss would be compensated by cortical sensory mechanisms. Importantly, this low-level effect would be associated here with relatively reduced neural activity at lower frequencies corresponding to higher-level metrical grouping of the acoustic events, as compared to younger adults.

Keywords:aging, frequency tagging, EEG, rhythm perception, beat and meter perception
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B140 Neuroscience
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:53583
Deposited On:06 Mar 2023 15:29

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