Musical groove modulates motor cortex excitability: A TMS investigation

Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany.
Brain and Cognition (Impact Factor: 2.48). 05/2013; 82(2):127-136. DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2013.03.003
Source: PubMed


Groove is often described as a musical quality that can induce movement in a listener. This study examines the effects of listening to groove music on corticospinal excitability. Musicians and non-musicians listened to high-groove music, low-groove music, and spectrally matched noise, while receiving single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the primary motor cortex either on-beat or off-beat. We examined changes in the amplitude of the motor-evoked potentials (MEPs), recorded from hand and arm muscles, as an index of activity within the motor system. Musicians and non-musicians rated groove similarly. MEP results showed that high-groove music modulated corticospinal excitability, whereas no difference occurred between low-groove music and noise. More specifically, musicians' MEPs were larger with high-groove than low-groove music, and this effect was especially pronounced for on-beat compared to off-beat pulses. These results indicate that high-groove music increasingly engages the motor system, and the temporal modulation of corticospinal excitability with the beat could stem from tight auditory-motor links in musicians. Conversely, non-musicians' MEPs were smaller for high-groove than low-groove music, and there was no effect of on- versus off-beat pulses, potentially stemming from suppression of overt movement. In sum, high-groove music engages the motor system, and previous training modulates how listening to music with a strong groove activates the motor system.

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    • "response, and the activation of the amygdala, motor cortex, cerebellum, etc. (Koelsch et al., 2006; Gosselin et al., 2007; Brattico et al., 2013; Stupacher et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies suggested that listening to different types of music may modulate differently psychological mood and physiological responses associated with the induced emotions. In this study the effect of listening to instrumental classical vs. atonal contemporary music was examined in a group of 50 non-expert listeners. The subjects’ heart rate and diastolic and systolic blood pressure values were measured while they listened to music of different style and emotional typologies. Pieces were selected by asking a group of composers and conservatory professors to suggest a list of the most emotional music pieces (from Renaissance to present time). A total of 214 suggestions from 20 respondents were received. Then it was asked them to identify which pieces best induced in the listener feelings of agitation, joy or pathos and the number of suggested pieces per style was computed. Atonal pieces were more frequently indicated as agitating, and tonal pieces as joyful. The presence/absence of tonality in a musical piece did not affect the affective dimension of pathos (being touching). Among the most frequently cited six pieces were selected that were comparable for structure and style, to represent each emotion and style. They were equally evaluated as unfamiliar by an independent group of 10 students of the same cohort) and were then used as stimuli for the experimental session in which autonomic parameters were recorded. Overall, listening to atonal music (independent of the pieces’ emotional characteristics) was associated with a reduced heart rate (fear bradycardia) and increased blood pressure (both diastolic and systolic), possibly reflecting an increase in alertness and attention, psychological tension, and anxiety. This evidence fits with the results of the esthetical assessment showing how, overall, atonal music is perceived as more agitating and less joyful than tonal one.
    Frontiers in Psychology 10/2015; DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01646 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "However, this finding is at odds with results of Bengtsson et al. (2009), who located activation in the dorsal PMC—among other motor related areas—in a purely passive listening task without any movement intention. Stupacher et al. (2013) furthermore, established links between perceived groove and motor activity in the brain. Besides brain studies, also behavioral studies suggest links between movement/body and rhythm/beat aspects in music: Phillips-Silver and Trainor (2008) showed that especially head movements were found to bias metrical encoding of rhythm and meter perception. "
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    ABSTRACT: Music has the capacity to induce movement in humans. Such responses during music listening are usually spontaneous and range from tapping to full-body dancing. However, it is still unclear how humans embody musical structures to facilitate entrainment. This paper describes two experiments, one dealing with period locking to different metrical levels in full-body movement and its relationships to beat- and rhythm-related musical characteristics, and the other dealing with phase locking in the more constrained condition of sideways swaying motions. Expected in Experiment 1 was that music with clear and strong beat structures would facilitate more period-locked movement. Experiment 2 was assumed to yield a common phase relationship between participants' swaying movements and the musical beat. In both experiments optical motion capture was used to record participants' movements. In Experiment 1 a window-based period-locking probability index related to four metrical levels was established, based on acceleration data in three dimensions. Subsequent correlations between this index and musical characteristics of the stimuli revealed pulse clarity to be related to periodic movement at the tactus level, and low frequency flux to mediolateral and anteroposterior movement at both tactus and bar levels. At faster tempi higher metrical levels became more apparent in participants' movement. Experiment 2 showed that about half of the participants showed a stable phase relationship between movement and beat, with superior-inferior movement most often being synchronized to the tactus level, whereas mediolateral movement was rather synchronized to the bar level. However, the relationship between movement phase and beat locations was not consistent between participants, as the beat locations occurred at different phase angles of their movements. The results imply that entrainment to music is a complex phenomenon, involving the whole body and occurring at different metrical levels.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11/2014; 8(903). DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00903 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    • "In particular, high-groove music elicits higher arousal as well as a positive affective state (Janata et al., 2012). Even at rest, high-groove music modulates excitability of the motor system more than lowgroove music (Stupacher et al., 2013). Gait is sensitive to changes in the state of affect and arousal (Naugle et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Slowed gait in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) can be improved when patients synchronize footsteps to isochronous metronome cues, but limited retention of such improvements suggest that permanent cueing regimes are needed for long-term improvements. If so, music might make permanent cueing regimes more pleasant, improving adherence; however, music cueing requires patients to synchronize movements to the "beat," which might be difficult for patients with PD who tend to show weak beat perception. One solution may be to use high-groove music, which has high beat salience that may facilitate synchronization, and affective properties, which may improve motivation to move. As a first step to understanding how beat perception affects gait in complex neurological disorders, we examined how beat perception ability affected gait in neurotypical adults. Synchronization performance and gait parameters were assessed as healthy young adults with strong or weak beat perception synchronized to low-groove music, high-groove music, and metronome cues. High-groove music was predicted to elicit better synchronization than low-groove music, due to its higher beat salience. Two musical tempi, or rates, were used: (1) preferred tempo: beat rate matched to preferred step rate and (2) faster tempo: beat rate adjusted to 22.5% faster than preferred step rate. For both strong and weak beat-perceivers, synchronization performance was best with metronome cues, followed by high-groove music, and worst with low-groove music. In addition, high-groove music elicited longer and faster steps than low-groove music, both at preferred tempo and at faster tempo. Low-groove music was particularly detrimental to gait in weak beat-perceivers, who showed slower and shorter steps compared to uncued walking. The findings show that individual differences in beat perception affect gait when synchronizing footsteps to music, and have implications for using music in gait rehabilitation.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10/2014; 8:811. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00811 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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