Increased Auditory Cortical Representation in Musicians

Biomagnetism Center, Institute of Experimental Audiology, University of Münster, Germany.
Nature (Impact Factor: 41.46). 04/1998; 392(6678):811-4. DOI: 10.1038/33918
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Acoustic stimuli are processed throughout the auditory projection pathway, including the neocortex, by neurons that are aggregated into 'tonotopic' maps according to their specific frequency tunings. Research on animals has shown that tonotopic representations are not statically fixed in the adult organism but can reorganize after damage to the cochlea or after training the intact subject to discriminate between auditory stimuli. Here we used functional magnetic source imaging (single dipole model) to measure cortical representations in highly skilled musicians. Dipole moments for piano tones, but not for pure tones of similar fundamental frequency (matched in loudness), were found to be enlarged by about 25% in musicians compared with control subjects who had never played an instrument. Enlargement was correlated with the age at which musicians began to practise and did not differ between musicians with absolute or relative pitch. These results, when interpreted with evidence for modified somatosensory representations of the fingering digits in skilled violinists, suggest that use-dependent functional reorganization extends across the sensory cortices to reflect the pattern of sensory input processed by the subject during development of musical skill.

12 Reads
  • Source
    • "matter volume and density in auditory cortices of musicians [97] [98]. On the basis of the structural findings, changes in the auditory ERPs in musicians may indicate expanded activation areas, increased number of neurons, greater synchronization, or faster connectivity. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper reviews music research using Mismatch Negativity (MMN). MMN is a deviation-specific component of auditory event-related potential (EPR), which detects a deviation between a sound and an internal representation (e.g., memory trace). Recent studies have expanded the notion and the paradigms of MMN to higher-order music processing such as those involving short melodies, harmony chord, and music syntax. In this vein, we firstly reviewed the evolution of MMN from sound to music, and then mainly compared the differences of MMN features between musicians and non-musicians, followed by the discussion of the potential roles of the training effect and the natural exposure in MMN. Since MMN can serve as an index of neural plasticity, it thus can be widely used in clinical and other applied areas, such as detecting music preference in inborn or assessing wholeness of central auditory system of hearing illness. Finally, we pointed out some open-questions and further directions. Current music perception research using MMN has mainly focused on relatively low hierarchical structure of music perception. To fully understand the neural substrates underlying processing of regularities in music, it is important and beneficial to combine MMN with other experimental paradigms such as early right-anterior negativity (ERAN).
    Behavioural neurology 07/2015; · 1.45 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "In typically developing individuals, effectiveness of treatment diminishes after the age of 7 years, although there are substantial individual differences in response to treatment after that period (Scheiman et al., 2008). Similarly, musical training leads to an expanded auditory cortical representation, but only before 9 years of age (Pantev et al., 1998). If sensitive periods are disrupted in individuals with autism, we would predict that treatment efficacy for amblyopia may have a significantly different time course. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Resilience and adaptation in the face of early genetic or environmental risk has become a major interest in child psychiatry over recent years. However, we still remain far from an understanding of how developing human brains as a whole adapt to the diffuse and widespread atypical synaptic function that may be characteristic of some common developmental disorders. The first part of this paper discusses four types of whole-brain adaptation in the face of early risk: redundancy, reorganization, niche construction, and adjustment of developmental rate. The second part of the paper applies these adaptation processes specifically to autism. We speculate that key features of autism may be the end result of processes of early brain adaptation, rather than the direct consequences of ongoing neural pathology.
    Development and Psychopathology 05/2015; 27(02):425-442. DOI:10.1017/S0954579415000073 · 4.89 Impact Factor
    • "Playing an instrument trains the auditory system, including the auditory cortex, in a very special way that leads to an increased cortical representation and also morphological changes (Pantev et al, 1998; Schneider et al, 2002). Musicians have a lower threshold for discriminating frequencies than nonmusicians; nonetheless , nonmusicians can be trained to perform better (Micheyl et al, 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Tinnitus is the percept of sound unrelated to any external source. Diagnostic approaches to assess tinnitus characteristics such as tinnitus pitch are crucial for new attempts of tinnitus therapy. Purpose: To develop and evaluate reliable tinnitus-pitch matching procedures. Existing procedures usually require audiometric equipment and are time-consuming. But some patients with tinnitus find it hard to match their tinnitus in one single session. For this reason we developed an iPod-based application for self-administered tinnitus pitch-matching and compared it with a standardized audiometric procedure. Study Sample: Seventeen patients with chronic tonal tinnitus participated in two sessions including both pitch-matching procedures. Method: In the conventional audiometric test, the investigator adjusted the frequency and loudness of pure tones led by the responses of the patient. For the iPod-based procedure, we used a recursive two-interval forced-choice test that required no interaction with an investigator. Both procedures included loudness-matching and testing for octave confusion. Results: The iPod-based procedure resulted in lower pitch matches as compared to the conventional audiometry. Psychometric qualities like the test-retest reliability of both methods were comparable. Participants rated the iPod-based procedure as easier to perform and more comfortable to use. Conclusions: In conclusion, we find that the use of self-administered tinnitus pitch-matching procedures on a mobile device is feasible and easier in practice without any loss of reliability and validity. A major advantage is the possibility of repeated measurements without expensive equipment and experienced staff. Repeated measurements of tinnitus pitch can provide more information about the stability of the tinnitus perception and may improve the ability of participants to match their tinnitus.
    Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 02/2015; 26(2):205-212. DOI:10.3766/jaaa.26.2.9 · 1.58 Impact Factor
Show more