This research compared the abilities of children and adults to perceive an optimal tempo for pieces of music. Participants heard eight melodies played at a range of tempi and made a 2AFC of “too fast” or “too slow” for each presentation. Children (aged between 5 to 11 years) and adults (aged between 17 to 54 years) showed the same variation in perceived optimal tempi across melodies. The same variation in optimal tempi was also observed when pitch variations were removed. This suggests that the rhythmical structure was responsible for the perceived optimal tempi for these pieces of music.

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