(Paris) At a few months old, the young child waves arms and legs in a rhythmic movement, which would be influenced in large part by the walking tempo of the parent wearing it, according to a study published Wednesday.
Research established in the 1980s that all little humans, “have a spontaneous motor tempo (SMT), which each has a natural rhythm that they like to follow while moving, without the aid of music or anything else, but produces just naturally ”, explains Dr Sinead Rocha, Center for Brain and Cognitive Development at UK Birkbeck University.
“One of the most captivating aspects of music is that it makes us want to move”, according to the study she co-authored in the journal Royal Society Open Science. But it takes a while for a child to hope to move in accordance with a given musical rhythm.
However, from the age of five months, children perform rhythmic and repetitive movements of the arms and legs. “We think they’re trying to experiment with how their motor system works,” she said.
But where does this primitive sense of rhythm come from, if we put aside exotic explanations like the fact that one of the parents is an unconditional fan of James Brown?
To answer this question, Dr Rocha, and colleagues in the departments of psychology at Cambridge and Copenhagen universities, hypothesized that TMS was fueled in large part by the experience of the movement a child undergoes when its parent wears it.
To verify this, they assumed that the parent’s walking speed would influence the child’s spontaneous motor tempo, such that it would be accelerated by fast walking and slowed down by slow walking. They chose children of 10 months, a pivotal age when they were subjected to the maximum influence via their surrogate parent just before they started to walk themselves.
The young subjects thus found themselves in a baby carrier, strapped in the prone position to an experimenter, who walked for ten minutes on a treadmill, either at a rapid pace of 138 steps per minute, or rather slow of 98 steps per minute. the minute.
Children’s TMS was measured by providing them, before and after, with a small drum that they had to strike at least four times for the experiment to be validated. On average, the children transported at a rapid speed increased their rhythm of drumming after the experiment, and vice versa.
“We don’t expect the experience of movement passed down through parents to last a lifetime,” notes Dr.r Rocha, but “she is perhaps a unique component allowing us to build our very first sense of rhythm”.
What about the children that their parents do not carry, with a baby carrier, in a sling or just in their arms? The study of Dr Rocha cites several studies according to which the child’s sense of rhythm is nourished in his mother’s womb, by the sound and movement of the latter’s walking.