The purpose of this study was to investigate the temporal control of repetitive tapping in children, ages 3 to 11 (N = 99). The subjects tapped in synchrony with an auditory pulse (synchronizing phase) at nine different tempos (interpulse intervals of 370, 420, 500, 540, 620, 720, 850, 1000, and 1300 msec.) and were then asked to maintain the same tapping tempo without the aid of an auditory pulse (continuing phase). The time difference between the onset of the pulse and the tap in the synchronizing phase and intertap interval in the continuing phase were measured. Both the time difference between the timing pulse and the tap, and variation of intertap intervals were smallest at the tempo of 500 msec, for all age groups. The variation of the intertap interval at slower tempos was greater than that at fast tempos in all age groups. This suggests that the accurate interval (tempo) of all the subjects was around 500 to 600 msec. At slower tempos, the intertap interval had a tendency to become slightly shorter with time and converged at intertap interval 500 to 600 msec. It is suggested that the preferred tempo was superior to the prescribed tempo in the continuing phase for younger subjects. Differing patterns of response in the movement sequence were observed between younger and older subjects in the movement sequence. The changes in temporal control over the age groups are thought to appear at between 5 and 7 years of age.
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