Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Michael Cannizzaro

Second Advisor

Eugene Delay


Rhythm, Music, Speech, fNIRS, NPVI, Working Memory


Rhythmic organization of auditory information is used differently in the retention of music and spoken language. However, similar areas of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) have been implicated in the retention of unusual rhythmic patterns. This study investigated the degree of PFC activation using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) during three rhythmic pattern manipulation working memory tasks. In addition the normalized pair-wise variability index (NPVI) was tested as a measure of rhythmic accuracy. Of the six participants considered, three demonstrated greater activation of the right PFC in response to the Rhythmic Motor task, a manipulation of musical rhythms. Similar activation was observed for the Stress Speech task, which altered stress patterns in natural speech. No changes in activation were observed in the Rhythmic Speech task, which paired speech with metric patterns. The NPVI values did not reflect task performance. Refinement is needed to determine if the current procedure accurately measures rhythmic working memory.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.