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Comparing the processing of music and language meaning using EEG and FMRI provides evidence for similar and distinct neural representations.

Steinbeis N, Koelsch S - PLoS ONE (2008)

Bottom Line: This paper presents evidence showing that expressed affect is a primary pathway to music meaning and that meaning in music is represented in a very similar fashion to language meaning.Most importantly, however, when primed by affective words, single chords incongruous to the preceding affect also elicited an N400 and activated the right posterior STS, an area implicated in processing meaning of a variety of signals (e.g. prosody, voices, motion).This provides an important piece of evidence in support of music meaning being represented in a very similar but also distinct fashion to language meaning: Both elicit an N400, but activate different portions of the right temporal lobe.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Research, Leipzig, Germany. steinb@cbs.mpg.de

ABSTRACT
Recent demonstrations that music is capable of conveying semantically meaningful information has raised several questions as to what the underlying mechanisms of establishing meaning in music are, and if the meaning of music is represented in comparable fashion to language meaning. This paper presents evidence showing that expressed affect is a primary pathway to music meaning and that meaning in music is represented in a very similar fashion to language meaning. In two experiments using EEG and fMRI, it was shown that single chords varying in harmonic roughness (consonance/dissonance) and thus perceived affect could prime the processing of subsequently presented affective target words, as indicated by an increased N400 and activation of the right middle temporal gyrus (MTG). Most importantly, however, when primed by affective words, single chords incongruous to the preceding affect also elicited an N400 and activated the right posterior STS, an area implicated in processing meaning of a variety of signals (e.g. prosody, voices, motion). This provides an important piece of evidence in support of music meaning being represented in a very similar but also distinct fashion to language meaning: Both elicit an N400, but activate different portions of the right temporal lobe.

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Design of Experiments 1a and 2a (A) and Experiments 2a and 2b (B).In Experiments 1a and 2a chords were presented as primes followed 200 ms after chord onset by target words, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible. In Experiments 1b and 2sb words were presented as primes followed 200 ms after word onset by target chords, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible.
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pone-0002226-g001: Design of Experiments 1a and 2a (A) and Experiments 2a and 2b (B).In Experiments 1a and 2a chords were presented as primes followed 200 ms after chord onset by target words, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible. In Experiments 1b and 2sb words were presented as primes followed 200 ms after word onset by target chords, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible.

Mentions: Procedure: In Experiments 1a and 2a chords were played as primes, followed 200 ms after chord onset by the target word, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible (see Figure 1A). Words and chords were matched such that there was a congruent and an incongruent condition, with each chord and each word being presented twice throughout the experiment, once congruently and once incongruently. That way any congruency-related effects would not be attributable to differences in stimuli.


Comparing the processing of music and language meaning using EEG and FMRI provides evidence for similar and distinct neural representations.

Steinbeis N, Koelsch S - PLoS ONE (2008)

Design of Experiments 1a and 2a (A) and Experiments 2a and 2b (B).In Experiments 1a and 2a chords were presented as primes followed 200 ms after chord onset by target words, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible. In Experiments 1b and 2sb words were presented as primes followed 200 ms after word onset by target chords, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2376093&req=5

pone-0002226-g001: Design of Experiments 1a and 2a (A) and Experiments 2a and 2b (B).In Experiments 1a and 2a chords were presented as primes followed 200 ms after chord onset by target words, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible. In Experiments 1b and 2sb words were presented as primes followed 200 ms after word onset by target chords, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible.
Mentions: Procedure: In Experiments 1a and 2a chords were played as primes, followed 200 ms after chord onset by the target word, which participants were asked to evaluate as fast as possible (see Figure 1A). Words and chords were matched such that there was a congruent and an incongruent condition, with each chord and each word being presented twice throughout the experiment, once congruently and once incongruently. That way any congruency-related effects would not be attributable to differences in stimuli.

Bottom Line: This paper presents evidence showing that expressed affect is a primary pathway to music meaning and that meaning in music is represented in a very similar fashion to language meaning.Most importantly, however, when primed by affective words, single chords incongruous to the preceding affect also elicited an N400 and activated the right posterior STS, an area implicated in processing meaning of a variety of signals (e.g. prosody, voices, motion).This provides an important piece of evidence in support of music meaning being represented in a very similar but also distinct fashion to language meaning: Both elicit an N400, but activate different portions of the right temporal lobe.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Research, Leipzig, Germany. steinb@cbs.mpg.de

ABSTRACT
Recent demonstrations that music is capable of conveying semantically meaningful information has raised several questions as to what the underlying mechanisms of establishing meaning in music are, and if the meaning of music is represented in comparable fashion to language meaning. This paper presents evidence showing that expressed affect is a primary pathway to music meaning and that meaning in music is represented in a very similar fashion to language meaning. In two experiments using EEG and fMRI, it was shown that single chords varying in harmonic roughness (consonance/dissonance) and thus perceived affect could prime the processing of subsequently presented affective target words, as indicated by an increased N400 and activation of the right middle temporal gyrus (MTG). Most importantly, however, when primed by affective words, single chords incongruous to the preceding affect also elicited an N400 and activated the right posterior STS, an area implicated in processing meaning of a variety of signals (e.g. prosody, voices, motion). This provides an important piece of evidence in support of music meaning being represented in a very similar but also distinct fashion to language meaning: Both elicit an N400, but activate different portions of the right temporal lobe.

Show MeSH