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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rhythmic Coordination Affects Children’s Perspective-Taking during Online Communication


We examined how rhythmic activities affect children’s perspective-taking in a referential communication task with 69 Chinese 5- to 6-year-old children. The child first played an instrument with a virtual partner in one of three coordination conditions: synchrony, asynchrony, and antiphase synchrony. Eye movements were then monitored with the partner giving instructions to identify a shape referent which included a pre-nominal scalar adjective (e.g., big cubic block). Participants with awareness of their partner’s perspective could, in principle, identify the intended referent before the shape was named when the target contrast (a small cubic block) was in shared ground whereas a competitor contrast was occluded for the partner. Children in the asynchrony and antiphase synchrony conditions, but not the synchrony condition, showed anticipatory looks to the target, suggesting that playing instruments asynchronously or in alternation facilitates perspective-taking, likely by training self-other discrimination and inhibitory control.

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