Tap harder: Cognitive abilities, subjective factors, and musical properties that predict tapping force in young and older adults [post]

Mohammed A Mudarris, Rebecca S Schaefer
2022 unpublished
Research examining movement to music typically examines dance, or the less demanding task of finger-tapping along to a rhythm. Previous studies have focused on timing accuracy of finger-taps, largely neglecting the force aspect of tapping, which is both important for understanding rhythmic movement, and relevant to clinical applications. In two experiments on healthy young and older adults, we examined the role of i) cognition, ii) subjective factors, and iii) properties of music that influence
more » ... the force of finger-tapping to music of varying genre, tempi, and complexity. Our results revealed that switching/inhibition ability inversely predicted tapping force, whereas liking of the music, and music expressing positive emotions predicted greater tapping force. Despite known declines of motor and cognitive functions in aging, we found that older adults were no different than young adults on these factors, suggesting that mechanisms of tapping force may be spared in healthy aging. We examined other relevant factors based on previous findings, including working memory, familiarity with the music, and whether the music was activating, but none were predictive of applied force. Clinical implications are that for increased effort or engagement, developers and practitioners of music therapy may seek to assess aspects of cognition that influence participation, tailor the music to the patient's preference, and pre-select musical samples that express positive emotions.
doi:10.31234/osf.io/hjdpr fatcat:q22mu6iltzdajkcnm6gobh2cnu