Does familiarity facilitate the cortical processing of music sounds?

University of Bonn, Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Neuroreport (Impact Factor: 1.52). 11/2004; 15(16):2471-5. DOI: 10.1097/00001756-200411150-00008
Source: PubMed


Automatic cortical sound discrimination, as indexed by the mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory evoked potential, is facilitated for familiar speech sounds (phonemes). In musicians as compared to non-musicians, an enhanced MMN has been observed for complex non-speech sounds. Here, musically trained subjects were presented with sequences of either familiar (tonal) or structurally matched unfamiliar (atonal) triad chords, both with either fixed or randomly transposed chord root pitch. The MMN elicited by deviant chords did not differ for familiar and unfamiliar triad sequences, and was undiminished even to unfamiliar deviant sounds which were consciously undetectable. Only subsequent attention-related components indicated facilitated cognitive processing of familiar sounds, corresponding to higher behavioral detection scores.

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    • "More specifically, a long-term training effect on temporal processing has been found by Jongsma et al. (2005) reporting higher N150 amplitudes time-locked to an auditory temporal omission. Yet, there are studies that do not find training effects in auditory processing of pure tones, familiar or unfamiliar chords, or the violation of temporal irregularity (Lutkenhoner et al., 2006; Neuloh and Curio, 2004; van Zuijen et al., 2005). Thus, it appears that the literature on this matter is yet inconclusive and that possible training differences might occur, although not in every aspect of temporal processing. "
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