Tapped Out: Do People With Aphasia Have Rhythm Processing Deficits? Purpose In this study, the authors tested whether people with aphasia (PWAs) show an impaired ability to process rhythm, both in terms of perception and production. Method Two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, 16 PWAs and 15 age-matched control participants performed 3 rhythm tasks: tapping along to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2014
Tapped Out: Do People With Aphasia Have Rhythm Processing Deficits?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lauryn Zipse
    School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA
  • Amanda Worek
    School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA
  • Anthony J. Guarino
    Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA
  • Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel
    Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Lauryn Zipse: lzipse@mghihp.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Robert Marshall
    Associate Editor: Robert Marshall×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2014
Tapped Out: Do People With Aphasia Have Rhythm Processing Deficits?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2234-2245. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0309
History: Received November 26, 2013 , Revised April 11, 2014 , Accepted August 22, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2234-2245. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0309
History: Received November 26, 2013; Revised April 11, 2014; Accepted August 22, 2014

Purpose In this study, the authors tested whether people with aphasia (PWAs) show an impaired ability to process rhythm, both in terms of perception and production.

Method Two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, 16 PWAs and 15 age-matched control participants performed 3 rhythm tasks: tapping along to short rhythms, tapping these same rhythms from memory immediately after presentation, and making same–different judgments about pairs of tapped rhythms that they heard. Comparison tasks measured same–different judgment ability with visual stimuli and nonverbal working memory (Corsi blocks). In Experiment 2, 14 PWAs and 16 control participants made same–different judgments for pairs of auditory stimuli that differed in terms of rhythm or pitch (for comparison).

Results In Experiment 1, PWAs performed worse than control participants across most measures of rhythm processing. In contrast, PWAs and control participants did not differ in their performance on the comparison tasks. In Experiment 2, the PWAs performed worse than control participants across all conditions but with a more marked deficit in stimulus pairs that differed in rhythm than in those that differed in pitch.

Conclusions The results support the hypothesis that at least some PWAs exhibit deficits of rhythm and timing. This may have implications for treatments involving tapping or other rhythmic cues.

Acknowledgments
We thank the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation for grant support to the first author; Benjamin Park for assistance designing and constructing the rhythm tapping task; Eileen Hunsaker, Margaret Kjelgaard, and Marjorie Nicholas for providing guidance on the second author's master's thesis, which was the basis for Experiment 2; and our participants for their time, effort, and patience.
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