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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 during attention. We recorded the EEG responses of eight subjects, averaged over the beat-responsive channels, as they either attended to a musical piece (black) or ignored it (red). The difference in response between ignoring and attending was negative in almost all of the trials, and statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). Error bars denote the SEM. At the level of individual subjects, the average difference between the responses in both conditions was always negative and almost always significant (blue). The population average of the response difference was significantly negative as well (green).
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Figure 4: Cortical responses during attention. We recorded the EEG responses of eight subjects, averaged over the beat-responsive channels, as they either attended to a musical piece (black) or ignored it (red). The difference in response between ignoring and attending was negative in almost all of the trials, and statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). Error bars denote the SEM. At the level of individual subjects, the average difference between the responses in both conditions was always negative and almost always significant (blue). The population average of the response difference was significantly negative as well (green).

Mentions: In order to investigate auditory attention to the musical input, we averaged the neural responses to the beat over the EEG channels with significant responses to the beat (Figure 4). We found that, at the population level, the EEG response at the beat was significantly smaller when ignoring the music than when attending to it. We observed the same behavior for every subject: the average difference in the responses between ignoring and attending the music was negative for every subject and significantly below zero for all but one, whose response approached statistical significance (p ≈ 0.05). At the level of individual trials, we likewise found that, for 27 of the 32 trials, the amplitude was smaller when ignoring the music. The differences were statistically significant in about half of the 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 during attention. We recorded the EEG responses of eight subjects, averaged over the beat-responsive channels, as they either attended to a musical piece (black) or ignored it (red). The difference in response between ignoring and attending was negative in almost all of the trials, and statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). Error bars denote the SEM. At the level of individual subjects, the average difference between the responses in both conditions was always negative and almost always significant (blue). The population average of the response difference was significantly negative as well (green).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526810&req=5

Figure 4: Cortical responses during attention. We recorded the EEG responses of eight subjects, averaged over the beat-responsive channels, as they either attended to a musical piece (black) or ignored it (red). The difference in response between ignoring and attending was negative in almost all of the trials, and statistically significant in about half of the trials (*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001). Error bars denote the SEM. At the level of individual subjects, the average difference between the responses in both conditions was always negative and almost always significant (blue). The population average of the response difference was significantly negative as well (green).
Mentions: In order to investigate auditory attention to the musical input, we averaged the neural responses to the beat over the EEG channels with significant responses to the beat (Figure 4). We found that, at the population level, the EEG response at the beat was significantly smaller when ignoring the music than when attending to it. We observed the same behavior for every subject: the average difference in the responses between ignoring and attending the music was negative for every subject and significantly below zero for all but one, whose response approached statistical significance (p ≈ 0.05). At the level of individual trials, we likewise found that, for 27 of the 32 trials, the amplitude was smaller when ignoring the music. The differences were statistically significant in about half of the 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.