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Brains swinging in concert: cortical phase synchronization while playing guitar.

Lindenberger U, Li SC, Gruber W, Müller V - BMC Neurosci (2009)

Bottom Line: By applying synchronization algorithms to intra- and interbrain analyses, we found that phase synchronization both within and between brains increased significantly during the periods of (i) preparatory metronome tempo setting and (ii) coordinated play onset.Presumably, these couplings reflect similarities in the temporal properties of the individuals' percepts and actions.Whether between-brain oscillatory couplings play a causal role in initiating and maintaining interpersonal action coordination needs to be clarified by further research.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany. lindenberger@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

ABSTRACT

Background: Brains interact with the world through actions that are implemented by sensory and motor processes. A substantial part of these interactions consists in synchronized goal-directed actions involving two or more individuals. Hyperscanning techniques for assessing fMRI simultaneously from two individuals have been developed. However, EEG recordings that permit the assessment of synchronized neuronal activities at much higher levels of temporal resolution have not yet been simultaneously assessed in multiple individuals and analyzed in the time-frequency domain. In this study, we simultaneously recorded EEG from the brains of each of eight pairs of guitarists playing a short melody together to explore the extent and the functional significance of synchronized cortical activity in the course of interpersonally coordinated actions.

Results: By applying synchronization algorithms to intra- and interbrain analyses, we found that phase synchronization both within and between brains increased significantly during the periods of (i) preparatory metronome tempo setting and (ii) coordinated play onset. Phase alignment extracted from within-brain dynamics was related to behavioral play onset asynchrony between guitarists.

Conclusion: Our findings show that interpersonally coordinated actions are preceded and accompanied by between-brain oscillatory couplings. Presumably, these couplings reflect similarities in the temporal properties of the individuals' percepts and actions. Whether between-brain oscillatory couplings play a causal role in initiating and maintaining interpersonal action coordination needs to be clarified by further research.

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Phase synchronization within and between the brains during the period of guitar playing. (A) Topological distributions of PLI in a representative pair of guitarists, A and B, at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play beginning of guitarist A. Fronto-central maxima of PLI are shown. (B) Guitar traces and time-frequency diagrams of average PLI for guitarists A and B. PLI was averaged across six fronto-central electrodes. Only significant PLI values (p < 0.01) are shown. Time zero is time locked to play onset of the leading guitarist A. The leading guitarist's finger gesture to start playing together is indicated with a red arrow. The yellow arrows refer to individual guitar strokes. The time course of PLI values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. (C) Interbrain synchronization between the two guitarists measured by IPC at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play onset. Colored lines indicate synchrony between electrode pairs of the two guitarists. Only IPC values higher than 0.51 are highlighted. (D) Time-frequency diagram of the average IPC averaged across six electrode pairs (for further explanation, see Figure 1D and 2B). The time course of IPC values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. High phase synchronization within (PLI in 2B) and between (IPC in 2D) the brains took place not only at play onset but also at the time point of the gesture serving as starting signal, and at the individual guitar strokes. SL = significance level.
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Figure 2: Phase synchronization within and between the brains during the period of guitar playing. (A) Topological distributions of PLI in a representative pair of guitarists, A and B, at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play beginning of guitarist A. Fronto-central maxima of PLI are shown. (B) Guitar traces and time-frequency diagrams of average PLI for guitarists A and B. PLI was averaged across six fronto-central electrodes. Only significant PLI values (p < 0.01) are shown. Time zero is time locked to play onset of the leading guitarist A. The leading guitarist's finger gesture to start playing together is indicated with a red arrow. The yellow arrows refer to individual guitar strokes. The time course of PLI values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. (C) Interbrain synchronization between the two guitarists measured by IPC at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play onset. Colored lines indicate synchrony between electrode pairs of the two guitarists. Only IPC values higher than 0.51 are highlighted. (D) Time-frequency diagram of the average IPC averaged across six electrode pairs (for further explanation, see Figure 1D and 2B). The time course of IPC values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. High phase synchronization within (PLI in 2B) and between (IPC in 2D) the brains took place not only at play onset but also at the time point of the gesture serving as starting signal, and at the individual guitar strokes. SL = significance level.

Mentions: Synchronization within the brains during the time window of play onset was also highest over fronto-central sites (Figure 2A) but at a lower frequency range, that is, between 0.5 and 7.5 Hz with a maximum around 3.3 Hz (Figure 2B). Synchronization between brains in this case again primarily involved fronto-central connections (Figure 2C) and was also strongest in the frequency range between 0.5 and 7.5 Hz with a maximum around 3.3 Hz (Figure 2D). Interestingly, synchronization (within and also between the brains) was strongly related not only to play onset but also to the leading guitarist's starting gesture immediately prior to play onset, and to the onset of the starting note while playing (for details see Figure 2B, D). Here, interbrain synchronization was again higher in pairs who showed higher synchronization within brains (Figure S3 in Additional file 2).


Brains swinging in concert: cortical phase synchronization while playing guitar.

Lindenberger U, Li SC, Gruber W, Müller V - BMC Neurosci (2009)

Phase synchronization within and between the brains during the period of guitar playing. (A) Topological distributions of PLI in a representative pair of guitarists, A and B, at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play beginning of guitarist A. Fronto-central maxima of PLI are shown. (B) Guitar traces and time-frequency diagrams of average PLI for guitarists A and B. PLI was averaged across six fronto-central electrodes. Only significant PLI values (p < 0.01) are shown. Time zero is time locked to play onset of the leading guitarist A. The leading guitarist's finger gesture to start playing together is indicated with a red arrow. The yellow arrows refer to individual guitar strokes. The time course of PLI values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. (C) Interbrain synchronization between the two guitarists measured by IPC at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play onset. Colored lines indicate synchrony between electrode pairs of the two guitarists. Only IPC values higher than 0.51 are highlighted. (D) Time-frequency diagram of the average IPC averaged across six electrode pairs (for further explanation, see Figure 1D and 2B). The time course of IPC values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. High phase synchronization within (PLI in 2B) and between (IPC in 2D) the brains took place not only at play onset but also at the time point of the gesture serving as starting signal, and at the individual guitar strokes. SL = significance level.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
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Figure 2: Phase synchronization within and between the brains during the period of guitar playing. (A) Topological distributions of PLI in a representative pair of guitarists, A and B, at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play beginning of guitarist A. Fronto-central maxima of PLI are shown. (B) Guitar traces and time-frequency diagrams of average PLI for guitarists A and B. PLI was averaged across six fronto-central electrodes. Only significant PLI values (p < 0.01) are shown. Time zero is time locked to play onset of the leading guitarist A. The leading guitarist's finger gesture to start playing together is indicated with a red arrow. The yellow arrows refer to individual guitar strokes. The time course of PLI values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. (C) Interbrain synchronization between the two guitarists measured by IPC at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) 800 ms after play onset. Colored lines indicate synchrony between electrode pairs of the two guitarists. Only IPC values higher than 0.51 are highlighted. (D) Time-frequency diagram of the average IPC averaged across six electrode pairs (for further explanation, see Figure 1D and 2B). The time course of IPC values at the low theta frequency (3.3 Hz) is depicted below the time-frequency diagram. High phase synchronization within (PLI in 2B) and between (IPC in 2D) the brains took place not only at play onset but also at the time point of the gesture serving as starting signal, and at the individual guitar strokes. SL = significance level.
Mentions: Synchronization within the brains during the time window of play onset was also highest over fronto-central sites (Figure 2A) but at a lower frequency range, that is, between 0.5 and 7.5 Hz with a maximum around 3.3 Hz (Figure 2B). Synchronization between brains in this case again primarily involved fronto-central connections (Figure 2C) and was also strongest in the frequency range between 0.5 and 7.5 Hz with a maximum around 3.3 Hz (Figure 2D). Interestingly, synchronization (within and also between the brains) was strongly related not only to play onset but also to the leading guitarist's starting gesture immediately prior to play onset, and to the onset of the starting note while playing (for details see Figure 2B, D). Here, interbrain synchronization was again higher in pairs who showed higher synchronization within brains (Figure S3 in Additional file 2).

Bottom Line: By applying synchronization algorithms to intra- and interbrain analyses, we found that phase synchronization both within and between brains increased significantly during the periods of (i) preparatory metronome tempo setting and (ii) coordinated play onset.Presumably, these couplings reflect similarities in the temporal properties of the individuals' percepts and actions.Whether between-brain oscillatory couplings play a causal role in initiating and maintaining interpersonal action coordination needs to be clarified by further research.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany. lindenberger@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

ABSTRACT

Background: Brains interact with the world through actions that are implemented by sensory and motor processes. A substantial part of these interactions consists in synchronized goal-directed actions involving two or more individuals. Hyperscanning techniques for assessing fMRI simultaneously from two individuals have been developed. However, EEG recordings that permit the assessment of synchronized neuronal activities at much higher levels of temporal resolution have not yet been simultaneously assessed in multiple individuals and analyzed in the time-frequency domain. In this study, we simultaneously recorded EEG from the brains of each of eight pairs of guitarists playing a short melody together to explore the extent and the functional significance of synchronized cortical activity in the course of interpersonally coordinated actions.

Results: By applying synchronization algorithms to intra- and interbrain analyses, we found that phase synchronization both within and between brains increased significantly during the periods of (i) preparatory metronome tempo setting and (ii) coordinated play onset. Phase alignment extracted from within-brain dynamics was related to behavioral play onset asynchrony between guitarists.

Conclusion: Our findings show that interpersonally coordinated actions are preceded and accompanied by between-brain oscillatory couplings. Presumably, these couplings reflect similarities in the temporal properties of the individuals' percepts and actions. Whether between-brain oscillatory couplings play a causal role in initiating and maintaining interpersonal action coordination needs to be clarified by further research.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus