Actions influence perceptions, but how this occurs may change across the lifespan. Studies have investigated how object-directed actions (e.g., learning about objects through manipulation) affect subsequent perception, but how abstract actions affect perception, and how this may change across development, have not been well studied. In the present study, we address this question, teaching children (4-7 year-olds) and adults sung melodies, with or without an abstract motor component, and using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to determine how these melodies are subsequently processed. Results demonstrated developmental change in the motor cortices and Middle Temporal Gyrus. Results have implications for understanding sensori-motor integration in the developing brain, and may provide insight into motor learning use in some music education techniques.
KEYWORDS: fMRI, visual-motor learning, music, MTG