Date of Completion


Embargo Period



music development, rhythm development, non-linear oscillators, dynamical systems, brainstem, auditory brainstem response

Major Advisor

Erika Skoe

Associate Advisor

Ed Large

Associate Advisor

Nicole Landi

Associate Advisor

Umay Suanda

Associate Advisor

Adam Sheya

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Over the course of development, typically developing infants and children learn to coordinate perception-action to temporally structured, acoustic signals in the environment. Many of these signals, such as music and spoken language, are governed by a rhythmic organization that enables developing listeners to predict, segment, and behaviorally entrain to individual acoustic events in complex, auditory streams. To date, however, little research has investigated general principles of neurobiological systems (e.g., neural oscillation, Hebbian plasticity) that might guide the development of rhythm perception-action across the lifespan. This dissertation consists of three projects aimed to address this objective. In projects I and II, I propose a series of developmental models, using a dynamical systems model of neural oscillation, to account for several seminal findings on infants' perception of musical rhythm and meter. Specifically, I propose a model of infants' perceptual narrowing to musical rhythm (i.e., experience-dependent, auditory plasticity) and auditory-vestibular interactions underlying infants' listening preferences for accented, musical rhythms. In addition to introducing theoretical models, this dissertation builds on prior empirical work concerning the brain dynamics that may enable rhythm perception-action in adulthood. While previous work has largely studied cortical brain dynamics, more recent work suggests that rhythm perception-action might involve lower level auditory structures, such as the thalamus and brainstem. Here, I introduce a novel paradigm to study the effects of rhythmic behavior and the self-initiation of sound on the auditory brainstem response (ABR), an auditory-evoked potential originating from the brainstem. Project III contributes to an emerging literature on rhythm perception-action and the processing of self-initiated sounds at lower levels in the human auditory system (e.g., brainstem), levels which have largely been ignored in the human literature.