Auditory-motor entrainment and phonological skills: Precise auditory timing hypothesis (PATH)

Adam Tierney, Nina Kraus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phonological skills are enhanced by music training, but the mechanisms enabling this cross-domain enhancement remain unknown. To explain this cross-domain transfer, we propose a precise auditory timing hypothesis (PATH) whereby entrainment practice is the core mechanism underlying enhanced phonological abilities in musicians. Both rhythmic synchronization and language skills such as consonant discrimination, detection of word and phrase boundaries, and conversational turn-taking rely on the perception of extremely fine-grained timing details in sound. Auditory-motor timing is an acoustic feature which meets all five of the pre-conditions necessary for cross-domain enhancement to occur (Patel, 2011, 2012, 2014). There is overlap between the neural networks that process timing in the context of both music and language. Entrainment to music demands more precise timing sensitivity than does language processing. Moreover, auditory-motor timing integration captures the emotion of the trainee, is repeatedly practiced, and demands focused attention. The PATH predicts that musical training emphasizing entrainment will be particularly effective in enhancing phonological skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number949
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 27 2014

Keywords

  • Auditory timing
  • Musical training
  • Phonological skills
  • Reading
  • Synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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