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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.


Neural responses to the beat in music during an attention task. (A) The frontal and central areas had the strongest response to the beat of music when ignoring the music. We show the average amplitudes over all trials and subjects. (B) Averaged across all trials and subjects, the difference in EEG amplitude at the beat frequency for attending to the music vs. ignoring it was largest in the central area. (C) The category of differences in the EEG responses between ignoring the music and attending to it (red circles) and the category of the inverse differences (black squares) could be differentiated with only two channels, F5 and T8. The class boundary (black line) was found through linear discriminant analysis (LDA). (D) Classification reached full accuracy when we classified the averages over the four trials from each subject, instead of individual trials.
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Figure 5: Neural responses to the beat in music during an attention task. (A) The frontal and central areas had the strongest response to the beat of music when ignoring the music. We show the average amplitudes over all trials and subjects. (B) Averaged across all trials and subjects, the difference in EEG amplitude at the beat frequency for attending to the music vs. ignoring it was largest in the central area. (C) The category of differences in the EEG responses between ignoring the music and attending to it (red circles) and the category of the inverse differences (black squares) could be differentiated with only two channels, F5 and T8. The class boundary (black line) was found through linear discriminant analysis (LDA). (D) Classification reached full accuracy when we classified the averages over the four trials from each subject, instead of individual trials.

Mentions: We finally investigated which scalp areas provided the most important information regarding attention. The prefrontal, frontal, and central channels provided the strongest response to the beat of music both during attention to a musical piece (Figure 1C) and when ignoring the musical piece (Figure 5A). The central, frontal, and temporal regions were particularly informative on attentional modulation of cortical activity (Figure 5B). We therefore attempted to classify the EEG responses corresponding to attending to or ignoring the music on the basis of only a subset of EEG channels. As in the experiment on music comprehension, we defined two categories. The first was the difference in the EEG amplitudes at the beat frequency between ignoring the musical stimulus and attending to it. The second category was the inverse signal, that is, the difference in the EEG response at the beat frequency between attending to the music and ignoring it. We found that as few as two channels, F5 and T8, could classify about 88% of all individual trials correctly (Figure 5C). Classification was fully accurate when considering the averages over all trials from individual subjects (Figure 5D).


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)

Neural responses to the beat in music during an attention task. (A) The frontal and central areas had the strongest response to the beat of music when ignoring the music. We show the average amplitudes over all trials and subjects. (B) Averaged across all trials and subjects, the difference in EEG amplitude at the beat frequency for attending to the music vs. ignoring it was largest in the central area. (C) The category of differences in the EEG responses between ignoring the music and attending to it (red circles) and the category of the inverse differences (black squares) could be differentiated with only two channels, F5 and T8. The class boundary (black line) was found through linear discriminant analysis (LDA). (D) Classification reached full accuracy when we classified the averages over the four trials from each subject, instead of individual trials.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526810&req=5

Figure 5: Neural responses to the beat in music during an attention task. (A) The frontal and central areas had the strongest response to the beat of music when ignoring the music. We show the average amplitudes over all trials and subjects. (B) Averaged across all trials and subjects, the difference in EEG amplitude at the beat frequency for attending to the music vs. ignoring it was largest in the central area. (C) The category of differences in the EEG responses between ignoring the music and attending to it (red circles) and the category of the inverse differences (black squares) could be differentiated with only two channels, F5 and T8. The class boundary (black line) was found through linear discriminant analysis (LDA). (D) Classification reached full accuracy when we classified the averages over the four trials from each subject, instead of individual trials.
Mentions: We finally investigated which scalp areas provided the most important information regarding attention. The prefrontal, frontal, and central channels provided the strongest response to the beat of music both during attention to a musical piece (Figure 1C) and when ignoring the musical piece (Figure 5A). The central, frontal, and temporal regions were particularly informative on attentional modulation of cortical activity (Figure 5B). We therefore attempted to classify the EEG responses corresponding to attending to or ignoring the music on the basis of only a subset of EEG channels. As in the experiment on music comprehension, we defined two categories. The first was the difference in the EEG amplitudes at the beat frequency between ignoring the musical stimulus and attending to it. The second category was the inverse signal, that is, the difference in the EEG response at the beat frequency between attending to the music and ignoring it. We found that as few as two channels, F5 and T8, could classify about 88% of all individual trials correctly (Figure 5C). Classification was fully accurate when considering the averages over all trials from individual subjects (Figure 5D).

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.