Tapping a Rhythm: A Problem of Timing for Children Who Are Clumsy and Dyslexic?

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Reint H. Geuze University of Groningen

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Alex F. Kalverboer University of Groningen

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This study is concerned with deficits in the ability to maintain an imposed rhythm in a tapping task and the possible sources of these deficits. Three groups of children between the ages of 7 and 12 with IQs above 75 participated: a group of children who were clumsy, a group who were dyslexic, and a control group whose reading and coordination were considered age appropriate. The children performed a series of “continuation” tapping tasks in which hand, speed, and rhythm of tapping were manipulated. The performance measure taken was the variability of tapping after the pacing signal had ceased. When the three groups were compared, the children who were clumsy showed a slightly increased variability across all tasks but no sign of lateralized performance differences. In contrast, the children who were dyslexic showed increased variability in only one task, involving the right hand. The results are discussed in relation to three different models of brain dysfunction.

Reint H. Geuze and Alex F. Kalverboer are with the Laboratory for Experimental Clinical Psychology, University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, NL 9712 TS Groningen, The Netherlands.

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