I graduated from the University of Bath with a First Class BSc (Hons) Psychology in 2011. Since then I have worked at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, as a Research Assistant and Administrator, investigating infant time perception whilst also managing day-to-day running of the lab. Whilst working full time I also completed an MSc in Developmental Sciences with Distinction. With psychology a close second, dance was always my first love, and I am delighted to be able to combine my two passions now as a full time PhD student, thanks to ESRC funding.
My PhD investigates the development of rhythmic and synchronous movement to music in infancy, and examines the neural processes underlying this complex behaviour. My MSc work developed a bell-ringing task for infants that elicited rhythmic behaviour in 10- and 18-month-old infants. We found that infants demonstrated tempo-flexibility at 18, but not 10 months of age. Further, we found that engaging in ringing with a social partner did not improve infants accuracy, but that they were best with songs of a faster tempo. We are now interested in exploring the factors that influence the transition from moving when hearing music, as we know babies like to do, to moving in time with music, which poses quite a challenge for most infants!
The difference my research makes
My research is investigating a behaviour that is ubiquitous amongst humans regardless of culture, but almost completely absent (with a few notable exceptions) in the rest of the animal kingdom. Ostensibly, moving to music doesn’t seem a particularly useful skill – so where does it come from and why has it persevered? Answers may lie in the realms of language, social interaction, bipedal locomotion and more. By studying how the behaviour first emerges we hope to be able to give new insight into this distinctive feature of our species.
Prof. Denis Mareschal: http://www.cbcd.bbk.ac.uk/people/scientificstaff/denis
Dr. Vicky Southgate: http://www.cbcd.bbk.ac.uk/people/scientificstaff/vicky
Addyman, C., Rocha, S., & Mareschal, D. (2014). Mapping the origins of time: Scalar errors in infant time estimation. Developmental psychology, 50(8), 2030.