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Sensorimotor synchronization across the life span


Aschersleben,  Gisa
Max Planck Society;


Li,  Shu-Chen
Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Max Planck Society;

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Drewing, K., Aschersleben, G., & Li, S.-C. (2006). Sensorimotor synchronization across the life span. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30(3), 280-287. doi:10.1177/0165025406066764.

The present study investigates the contribution of general processing resources as well as other more specific factors to the life-span development of sensorimotor synchronization and its component processes. Within a synchronization tapping paradigm, a group of 286 participants, 6 to 88 years of age, were asked to synchronize finger taps with sequences of auditory signals. The auditory signals were given either isochronously with short or long interstimulus intervals in a regular condition or in a more demanding condition with alternating short and ong intervals. The results provided the first direct life-span evidence showing that performance in these tasks improves substantially during childhood until about late teens, and thereon remains at least relatively stable until old age. This pattern of life-span age gradient holds for measures of different component processes of sensorimotor synchronization, such as basic timekeeping and error correction processes. The findings are not in line with simple general factor accounts of development. They rather suggest a more complex interaction between general resources and other specific factors in the life-span development of different components of sensorimotor synchronization.