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The steady-state response of the cerebral cortex to the beat of music reflects both the comprehension of music and attention.

Meltzer B, Reichenbach CS, Braiman C, Schiff ND, Hudspeth AJ, Reichenbach T - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: We show that the cortical response to the beat is weaker when subjects listen to a familiar tune than when they listen to an unfamiliar, non-sensical musical piece.Furthermore, we show that in a task of intermodal attention there is a larger neural response at the beat frequency when subjects attend to a musical stimulus than when they ignore the auditory signal and instead focus on a visual one.Our findings may be applied in clinical assessments of auditory processing and music cognition as well as in the construction of auditory brain-machine interfaces.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London UK.

ABSTRACT
The brain's analyses of speech and music share a range of neural resources and mechanisms. Music displays a temporal structure of complexity similar to that of speech, unfolds over comparable timescales, and elicits cognitive demands in tasks involving comprehension and attention. During speech processing, synchronized neural activity of the cerebral cortex in the delta and theta frequency bands tracks the envelope of a speech signal, and this neural activity is modulated by high-level cortical functions such as speech comprehension and attention. It remains unclear, however, whether the cortex also responds to the natural rhythmic structure of music and how the response, if present, is influenced by higher cognitive processes. Here we employ electroencephalography to show that the cortex responds to the beat of music and that this steady-state response reflects musical comprehension and attention. We show that the cortical response to the beat is weaker when subjects listen to a familiar tune than when they listen to an unfamiliar, non-sensical musical piece. Furthermore, we show that in a task of intermodal attention there is a larger neural response at the beat frequency when subjects attend to a musical stimulus than when they ignore the auditory signal and instead focus on a visual one. Our findings may be applied in clinical assessments of auditory processing and music cognition as well as in the construction of auditory brain-machine interfaces.

No MeSH data available.


Cortical responses to musical pieces and their scrambled versions. For eight subjects, we show the EEG responses at the beat frequency during listening to musical pieces (black) and to their scrambled versions (red). The EEG responses are the averages over the signals of the beat-responsive channels. Each subject experienced four trials with distinct musical pieces, abbreviated as FE, EKN, OTD, and TT. Error bars denote the SEM. The differences in the response were statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). The average differences in the EEG responses at the level of individual subjects were significant in all but one subject (blue). The population average—that is, the differences in EEG responses averaged over all subjects—was significantly positive as well (green).
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Figure 2: Cortical responses to musical pieces and their scrambled versions. For eight subjects, we show the EEG responses at the beat frequency during listening to musical pieces (black) and to their scrambled versions (red). The EEG responses are the averages over the signals of the beat-responsive channels. Each subject experienced four trials with distinct musical pieces, abbreviated as FE, EKN, OTD, and TT. Error bars denote the SEM. The differences in the response were statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). The average differences in the EEG responses at the level of individual subjects were significant in all but one subject (blue). The population average—that is, the differences in EEG responses averaged over all subjects—was significantly positive as well (green).

Mentions: We first investigated the average over the signals at beat-responsive channels. We found that, at the population level, the EEG response at the beat frequency was significantly smaller (p < 0.05) during listening to the musical piece than during listening to the scrambled version of the musical piece (Figure 2). This result similarly emerged when investigating individual subjects: every subject had a smaller response to the musical tune than to its scrambled version, and the difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05) for all subjects except for one who had a difference on the verge of significance (p ≈ 0.05). Moreover, statistically significant differences in the neural responses could be obtained from about half of the individual trials.


The steady-state response of the cerebral cortex to the beat of music reflects both the comprehension of music and attention.

Meltzer B, Reichenbach CS, Braiman C, Schiff ND, Hudspeth AJ, Reichenbach T - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Cortical responses to musical pieces and their scrambled versions. For eight subjects, we show the EEG responses at the beat frequency during listening to musical pieces (black) and to their scrambled versions (red). The EEG responses are the averages over the signals of the beat-responsive channels. Each subject experienced four trials with distinct musical pieces, abbreviated as FE, EKN, OTD, and TT. Error bars denote the SEM. The differences in the response were statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). The average differences in the EEG responses at the level of individual subjects were significant in all but one subject (blue). The population average—that is, the differences in EEG responses averaged over all subjects—was significantly positive as well (green).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526810&req=5

Figure 2: Cortical responses to musical pieces and their scrambled versions. For eight subjects, we show the EEG responses at the beat frequency during listening to musical pieces (black) and to their scrambled versions (red). The EEG responses are the averages over the signals of the beat-responsive channels. Each subject experienced four trials with distinct musical pieces, abbreviated as FE, EKN, OTD, and TT. Error bars denote the SEM. The differences in the response were statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). The average differences in the EEG responses at the level of individual subjects were significant in all but one subject (blue). The population average—that is, the differences in EEG responses averaged over all subjects—was significantly positive as well (green).
Mentions: We first investigated the average over the signals at beat-responsive channels. We found that, at the population level, the EEG response at the beat frequency was significantly smaller (p < 0.05) during listening to the musical piece than during listening to the scrambled version of the musical piece (Figure 2). This result similarly emerged when investigating individual subjects: every subject had a smaller response to the musical tune than to its scrambled version, and the difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05) for all subjects except for one who had a difference on the verge of significance (p ≈ 0.05). Moreover, statistically significant differences in the neural responses could be obtained from about half of the individual trials.

Bottom Line: We show that the cortical response to the beat is weaker when subjects listen to a familiar tune than when they listen to an unfamiliar, non-sensical musical piece.Furthermore, we show that in a task of intermodal attention there is a larger neural response at the beat frequency when subjects attend to a musical stimulus than when they ignore the auditory signal and instead focus on a visual one.Our findings may be applied in clinical assessments of auditory processing and music cognition as well as in the construction of auditory brain-machine interfaces.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London UK.

ABSTRACT
The brain's analyses of speech and music share a range of neural resources and mechanisms. Music displays a temporal structure of complexity similar to that of speech, unfolds over comparable timescales, and elicits cognitive demands in tasks involving comprehension and attention. During speech processing, synchronized neural activity of the cerebral cortex in the delta and theta frequency bands tracks the envelope of a speech signal, and this neural activity is modulated by high-level cortical functions such as speech comprehension and attention. It remains unclear, however, whether the cortex also responds to the natural rhythmic structure of music and how the response, if present, is influenced by higher cognitive processes. Here we employ electroencephalography to show that the cortex responds to the beat of music and that this steady-state response reflects musical comprehension and attention. We show that the cortical response to the beat is weaker when subjects listen to a familiar tune than when they listen to an unfamiliar, non-sensical musical piece. Furthermore, we show that in a task of intermodal attention there is a larger neural response at the beat frequency when subjects attend to a musical stimulus than when they ignore the auditory signal and instead focus on a visual one. Our findings may be applied in clinical assessments of auditory processing and music cognition as well as in the construction of auditory brain-machine interfaces.

No MeSH data available.