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Poster D93

Comparing the effect of low- vs. high-pitched metronomes on gait in rhythmic auditory stimulation

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Kristi M. Von Handorf1 (, Matthew Leung1, Diana M. Urian1, Jessica A. Grahn1; 1University of Western Ontario

Rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) is a promising intervention for gait-disordered populations that involves synchronizing footsteps to regular auditory cues. Previous research has shown that emphasizing beat onsets by adding a metronome to low-groove music improves stride speed and variability, possibly because increasing beat salience provides a clearer external cue to synchronize with. Here, we compared the effect of embedding low-pitched versus high-pitched metronomes in music to determine whether the privileged role of bass sounds in synchronization in other domains would also improve gait synchronization. We expected that adding a bass drum metronome to low- and high-groove music would improve stride speed and variability relative to a higher-pitched kick drum. Preliminary analyses in a sample of 70 healthy adults indicate no difference between high- and low-pitched metronomes. This suggests that the pitch of the metronome may not matter for improvement, and that any stimulus with strong beat salience will be effective. Moreover, adding the metronomes reduced gait differences between high- and low-groove music, in contrast to previous findings of robust gait differences between high and low groove. Therefore, beat salience may drive the effect of groove on gait. Ongoing studies will compare these responses to music without metronome, as well as characterize them in clinical populations.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Motor control


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April 13–16  |  2024