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Perception of strong-meter and weak-meter rhythms in children with spina bifida meningomyelocele

  • TALAR HOPYAN (a1) (a2) (a3), E. GLENN SCHELLENBERG (a1) and MAUREEN DENNIS (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4)


Neurodevelopmental disorders such as spina bifida meningomyelocele (SBM) are often associated with dysrhythmic movement. We studied rhythm discrimination in 21 children with SBM and in 21 age-matched controls, with the research question being whether both groups showed a strong-meter advantage whereby rhythm discrimination is better for rhythms with a strong-meter, in which onsets of longer intervals occurred on the beat, than those with a weak-meter, in which onsets of longer intervals occurred off the beat. Compared to controls, the SBM group was less able to discriminate strong-meter rhythms, although they performed comparably in discriminating weak-meter rhythms. The attenuated strong-meter advantage in children with SBM shows that their rhythm deficits occur at the level of both perception and action, and may represent a central processing disruption of the brain mechanisms for rhythm. (JINS, 2009, 15, 521–528.)


Corresponding author

*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Talar Hopyan, Department of Psychology, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8. E-mail:


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