The Contribution of Different Musical Variables to the Effect of Background Music on Motor Behavior

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The effects of variations in background music upon walking behavior were examined, in order to elucidate the mechanisms underpinning musical–motor interaction. Thirty participants walked a set distance while listening to background music that was systematically varied in terms of tempo, intensity, and pulse clarity. The results showed that walking speed was significantly influenced by tempo and by the interaction of tempo and pulse clarity. In contrast, walking speed was not significantly affected by the intensity manipulation. The results are presented within an integrated framework based on arousal and entrainment theories of musical–motor interaction.

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