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The relationship between entrainment dynamics and reading fluency assessed by sensorimotor perturbation

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A consistent relationship has been found between rhythmic processing and reading skills. Impairment of the ability to entrain movements to an auditory rhythm in clinical populations with language-related deficits, such as children with developmental dyslexia, has been found in both behavioral and neural studies. In this study, we explored the relationship between rhythmic entrainment, behavioral synchronization, reading fluency, and reading comprehension in neurotypical English- and Mandarin-speaking adults. First, we examined entrainment stability by asking participants to coordinate taps with an auditory metronome in which unpredictable perturbations were introduced to disrupt entrainment. Next, we assessed behavioral synchronization by asking participants to coordinate taps with the syllables they produced while reading sentences as naturally as possible (tap to syllable task). Finally, we measured reading fluency and reading comprehension for native English and native Mandarin speakers. Stability of entrainment correlated strongly with tap to syllable task performance and with reading fluency, and both findings generalized across English and Mandarin speakers.

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The authors wish to thank Whitney Tabor for valuable advice and discussion. Y.W. was supported in part by NSF IGERT DGE-1144399 to the University of Connecticut, and by a fellowship awarded by the Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences.


The authors declare they have no financial interests. Non-financial interests: Edward W Large holds ownership of Oscilloscape Llc.

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Correspondence to Yi Wei.

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The questionnaire and methodology for this study was approved by the University of Connecticut Institutional Review Board (Protocol: H15-061). Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The datasets generated and/or analyzed for the current study are not publicly available due to possible compromise of individual privacy, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Communicated by Winston D Byblow.

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Wei, Y., Hancock, R., Mozeiko, J. et al. The relationship between entrainment dynamics and reading fluency assessed by sensorimotor perturbation. Exp Brain Res 240, 1775–1790 (2022).

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