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Association found between receptive grammar and rhythm perception

Research shows that working on children’s rhythm skills will benefit grammar skills


The research shows that rhythm and learning are closely connected.

See the BodyBrainTech site for highly structured rhythmic movement activities for your students.





Yune S. Lee, Sanghoon Ahn, Rachael Frush Holt, E. Glenn Schellenberg

The Ohio State University, University of Toronto Mississauga


164 children

Ages 7 to 17 years


Conducted two experiments

Assessed grammar and rhythm abilities in children

Experiment 1 with 68 children for grammar comprehension and rhythm discrimination

Experiment 2 with 96 children, similar assessments with additional working memory control


Children with better rhythm skills had higher grammar test scores

Identified an association between receptive grammar and rhythm perception

Suggests shared neural mechanisms in music and language processing for rule-based temporal structures

More detail

This research, titled "Rhythm and Syntax Processing in School-Age Children" by Yune S. Lee, Sanghoon Ahn, Rachael Frush Holt, and E. Glenn Schellenberg, explores the relationship between musical rhythm skills and grammar proficiency in children. The authors conducted two experiments with children aged 7-17 years to assess their grammar and rhythm abilities. They found that children with better rhythm skills also had higher grammar test scores, even after considering factors like age, gender, music training, and maternal education. This finding was consistent across both experiments, suggesting an association between receptive grammar and rhythm perception in typically developing children. The study supports the view that music and language share neural resources for rule-based temporal processing, indicating that rhythm skills may be predictive of certain language abilities.

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