Effect of Musical Training on the Neural Correlates of Music Processing

Manuscript Published in Neuroscience Letters

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Previous studies have demonstrated changes in neuronal activity in trained musicians relative to controls while performing various music processing tasks. In this study the neural correlates of the effect of music training on two aspects of music processing, melody and harmony, are investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Fifteen subjects, seven with continuous musical training from early childhood to adulthood and eight without, underwent a passive fMRI listening paradigm designed to test the effects of melodic and harmonic processing. Melodic processing activated the most anterior part of the superior temporal gyrus for both musicians and non-musicians, while harmonic processing activated different visual association areas for musicians relative to non-musicians. The inferior parietal lobules were recruited only by musicians for both tasks. We conclude that musical training results in the recruitment of different neural networks for these aspects of music processing.

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