Robert Zatorre

Robert Zatorre
McGill University | McGill · Montreal Neurological Institute

PhD

About

423
Publications
165,619
Reads
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52,901
Citations
Citations since 2017
76 Research Items
17624 Citations
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Introduction
To download pdf reprints of publications please go to: www.zlab.mcgill.ca and look under "publications"
Additional affiliations
September 1983 - present
McGill University
Position
  • James McGill Professor

Publications

Publications (423)
Preprint
Humans produce two primary forms of vocal communication: speaking and singing. What is the basis for these two categories? Is the distinction between them based primarily on culturally specific, learned features, or do consistent acoustical cues exist that reliably distinguish speech and song worldwide? Some studies have suggested that important as...
Poster
Full-text available
We developed an fMRI music localiser within a larger project on individual differences in language aptitude including brain imaging, behavioural, and genetic data. Based on previous work on how the brain segments music at different time scales1, we contrasted unfamiliar intact songs and their temporally ‘scrambled’ versions, disrupting the rhythmic...
Article
Full-text available
Hemispheric asymmetries in auditory cognition have been recognized for a long time, but their neural basis is still debated. Here I focus on specialization for processing of speech and music, the two most important auditory communication systems that humans possess. A great deal of evidence from lesion studies and functional imaging suggests that a...
Article
Full-text available
Studies conducted in rodents indicate a crucial role of the opioid circuit in mediating objective hedonic reactions to primary rewards. However, it remains unclear whether opioid transmission is also essential to experience pleasure with more abstract rewards, such as music. We addressed this question using a double-blind within-subject pharmacolog...
Article
The neuroscience of music and music-based interventions (MBIs) is a fascinating but challenging research field. While music is a ubiquitous component of every human society, MBIs may encompass listening to music, performing music, music-based movement, undergoing music education and training, or receiving treatment from music therapists. Unraveling...
Preprint
Reward processing is essential for our mental-health and well-being. Here, we present the development and validation of a scalable fMRI-informed EEG model related to reward processing in the ventral-striatum (VS); a central reward circuit node. Simultaneous EEG/fMRI data were acquired from 17 healthy individuals listening to pleasurable music, and...
Article
The COVID‐19 pandemic has deeply affected the mental health of millions of people. We assessed which of many leisure activities correlated with positive mental health outputs, with particular attention to music, which has been reported to be important for coping with the psychological burden of the pandemic. Questionnaire data from about 1000 indiv...
Article
Human auditory cognition spans everything from detecting a creaking door in the night to enjoying beautiful music. Neurofunctional models of these processes tend to focus on cortical networks, but how do subcortical circuits contribute to auditory cognition? Answering this question will lead to a richer understanding of how we process the complex a...
Article
Full-text available
In contrast to perceptual tasks, which enable concurrent processing of many stimuli, working memory (WM) tasks have a very small capacity, limiting cognitive skills. Training on WM tasks often yields substantial improvement, suggesting that training might increase the general WM capacity. To understand the underlying processes, we trained a test gr...
Article
The frontoparietal network is involved in multiple tasks, such as visual mental rotation, working memory, or arithmetic. Whether those different cognitive processes are supported by the same supramodal network or distinct, but overlapping, functional systems is unresolved. We investigate whether frontoparietal activity can be selectively entrained...
Chapter
Full-text available
During the past decade, research in cognitive neuroscience has tried to understand how the organized acoustic information we call music is decoded in the brain as pleasant and rewarding stimulus. In this chapter, the authors retrace part of this intriguing journey: from the first positron emission tomography study revealing the association between...
Article
Full-text available
Adult abilities in complex cognitive domains such as music appear to depend critically on the age at which training or experience begins, and relevant experience has greater long-term effects during periods of peak maturational change. Previous work has shown that early trained musicians (ET; < age 7) out-perform later-trained musicians (LT; > age...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous neuroimaging studies demonstrated that the auditory cortex tracks ongoing speech and that, in multi-speaker environments, tracking of the attended speaker is enhanced compared to the other irrelevant speakers. In contrast to speech, multi-instrument music can be appreciated by attending not only on its individual entities (i.e., segregatio...
Preprint
Full-text available
Adult abilities in complex cognitive domains such as music appear to depend critically on the age at which training or experience begins, and relevant experience has greater long-term effects during periods of peak maturational change. Previous work has shown that early-trained musicians (ET; < age 7) out-perform later-trained musicians (LT; > age...
Article
Music listening provides one of the most significant abstract rewards for humans because hearing music activates the dopaminergic mesolimbic system. Given the strong link between reward, dopamine, and memory, we aimed here to investigate the hypothesis that dopamine‐dependent musical reward can drive memory improvements. Twenty‐nine healthy partici...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to mitigate its impact (e.g., confinement orders) have affected people's lives in profound ways that would have been unimagable only months before the pandemic began. Media reports from the height of the pandemic's initial international surge frequently highlighted that many people were engaging in music...
Article
Full-text available
Musical training is thought to be related to improved language skills, for example, understanding speech in background noise. Although studies have found that musicians and nonmusicians differed in morphology of bilateral arcuate fasciculus (AF), none has associated such white matter features with speech-in-noise (SIN) perception. Here, we tested b...
Article
Full-text available
Many everyday tasks share high-level sensory goals but differ in the movements used to accomplish them. One example of this is musical pitch regulation, where the same notes can be produced using the vocal system or a musical instrument controlled by the hands. Cello playing has previously been shown to rely on brain structures within the singing n...
Article
The nucleus accumbens (NAc) is widely known for its role in reward seeking behavior which is heavily reliant on dopamine signaling. Dopamine plays an important role in reward seeking behavior and motivation and its dysregulation is shown to cause symptoms of depression such as apathy, a lack of motivation, and anhedonia, a loss of pleasure. Studyin...
Article
Music's ability to induce feelings of pleasure has been the subject of intense neuroscientific research lately. Prior neuroimaging studies have shown that music-induced pleasure engages cortico-striatal circuits related to the anticipation and receipt of biologically relevant rewards/incentives, but these reports are necessarily correlational. Here...
Article
Humans can mentally represent auditory information without an external stimulus, but the specificity of these internal representations remains unclear. Here, we asked how similar the temporally unfolding neural representations of imagined music are compared to those during the original perceived experience. We also tested whether rhythmic motion ca...
Article
There is much debate about the existence and function of neural oscillatory mechanisms in the auditory system. The frequency- following response (FFR) is an index of neural periodicity encoding that can provide a vehicle to study entrainment in frequency ranges relevant to speech and music processing. Criteria for entrainment include the presence o...
Article
Musical training is associated with increased structural and functional connectivity between auditory sensory areas and higherorder brain networks involved in speech and motor processing. Whether such changed connectivity patterns facilitate the cortical propagation of speech information in musicians remains poorly understood. We here used magnetoe...
Article
Full-text available
A body of literature has demonstrated that the right auditory cortex (AC) plays a dominant role in fine pitch processing. However, our understanding is relatively limited about whether this asymmetry extends to perceptual learning of pitch. There is also a lack of causal evidence regarding the role of the right AC in pitch learning. We addressed th...
Article
Neuroimaging studies have shown that, despite the abstractness of music, it may mimic biologically rewarding stimuli (e.g., food) in its ability to engage the brain's reward circuitry. However, due to the lack of research comparing music and other types of reward, it is unclear to what extent the recruitment of reward-related structures overlaps am...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many everyday tasks share high-level sensory goals but differ in the movements used to accomplish them. One example of this is musical pitch regulation, where the same notes can be produced using the vocal system or a musical instrument controlled by the hands. Cello playing has previously been shown to rely on brain structures within the singing n...
Preprint
The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected mental health. We assessed which of many leisure activities had positive psychological effects, with particular attention to music, which has been reported anecdotally to be important. Questionnaire data from over a thousand individuals primarily from Italy, Spain, and the USA during spring 2020 show that p...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is much debate about the existence and function of neural oscillatory entrainment mechanisms in the auditory system. The frequency-following response (FFR) is an index of neural periodicity encoding that can provide a vehicle to study entrainment in frequency ranges relevant to speech and music processing. Criteria for entrainment include the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Neuroimaging studies have shown that, despite the abstractness of music, it may mimic biologically rewarding stimuli (e.g. food) in its ability to engage the brain's reward circuity. However, due to the lack of research comparing music and other types of reward, it is unclear to what extent the recruitment of reward-related structures overlaps amon...
Chapter
The sixth edition of the foundational reference on cognitive neuroscience, with entirely new material that covers the latest research, experimental approaches, and measurement methodologies. Each edition of this classic reference has proved to be a benchmark in the developing field of cognitive neuroscience. The sixth edition of The Cognitive Neuro...
Preprint
Full-text available
Previously, we provided causal evidence for a dopamine-dependent effect of intrinsic reward on memory during self-regulated learning (Ripollés et al., 2016; Ripollés et al., 2018). Here, we further investigated the dopamine-dependent link between reward and memory by focusing on one of the most iconic abstract rewards in humans: music. Twenty-nine...
Article
Speech versus music in the brain To what extent does the perception of speech and music depend on different mechanisms in the human brain? What is the anatomical basis underlying this specialization? Albouy et al. created a corpus of a cappella songs that contain both speech (semantic) and music (melodic) information and degraded each stimulus sele...
Article
Full-text available
The auditory frequency-following response (FFR) is a non-invasive index of the fidelity of sound encoding in the brain, and is used to study the integrity, plasticity, and behavioral relevance of the neural encoding of sound. In this Perspective, we review recent evidence suggesting that, in humans, the FFR arises from multiple cortical and subcort...
Article
Full-text available
Machine learning classification techniques are frequently applied to structural and resting-state fMRI data to identify brain-based biomarkers for developmental disorders. However, task-related fMRI has rarely been used as a diagnostic tool. Here, we used structural MRI, resting-state connectivity and task-based fMRI data to detect congenital amusi...
Article
Full-text available
Music ranks among the greatest human pleasures. It consistently engages the reward system, and converging evidence implies it exploits predictions to do so. Both prediction confirmations and errors are essential for understanding one's environment, and music offers many of each as it manipulates interacting patterns across multiple timescales. Lear...
Article
Full-text available
Brain imaging methods have contributed to shed light on the mechanisms of recovery after early brain insult. The assumption that the unaffected right hemisphere can take over language functions after left perinatal stroke is still under debate. Here, we report how patterns of brain structural and functional reorganization were associated with langu...
Article
Full-text available
Many animals can encode temporal intervals and use them to plan their actions, but only humans can flexibly extract a regular beat from complex patterns, such as musical rhythms. Beat-based timing is hypothesized to rely on the integration of sensory information with temporal information encoded in motor regions such as the medial premotor cortex (...
Article
People show considerable variability in the degree of pleasure they experience from music. These individual differences in music reward sensitivity are driven by variability in functional connectivity between the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), a key structure of the reward system, and the right superior temporal gyrus (STG). However, it is unknown wheth...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to segregate target sounds in noisy backgrounds is relevant both to neuroscience and to clinical applications. Recent research suggests that hearing-in-noise (HIN) problems are solved using combinations of sub-skills that are applied according to task demand and information availability. While evidence is accumulating for a musician adv...
Article
Full-text available
Enjoying music reliably ranks among life’s greatest pleasures. Like many hedonic experiences, it engages several reward-related brain areas, with activity in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) most consistently reflecting the listener’s subjective response. Converging evidence suggests that this activity arises from musical “reward prediction errors” (RPE...
Article
Significance In everyday life humans regularly seek participation in highly complex and pleasurable experiences such as music listening, singing, or playing, that do not seem to have any specific survival advantage. The question addressed here is to what extent dopaminergic transmission plays a direct role in the reward experience (both motivationa...
Article
Landmark papers in 2005 and 2009 provided the first evidence of links between development, training, and white-matter plasticity in humans, contributing to a shift in our understanding of brain wiring that has inspired fundamental research into the role of genes, the environment, and the mechanisms underlying training-related plasticity.
Article
Editor’s Note While the human brain is hardwired to feel pleasure for basic survival necessities, such as eating and sex, music—although obviously pleasurable—doesn’t offer the same evolutionary advantages. So why do we respond to patterns of sounds that disappear in an instant? Why do we belt music from the top of our lungs, learn to play instrume...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral and neuropsychological studies have suggested that tonal and verbal short-term memory are supported by specialized neural networks. To date however, neuroimaging investigations have failed to confirm this hypothesis. In this study, we investigated the hypothesis of distinct neural resources for tonal and verbal memory by comparing typica...
Article
Musical training has been demonstrated to benefit speech-in-noise perception. It is however unknown whether this effect translates to selective listening in cocktail party situations, and if so what its neural basis might be. We investigated this question using magnetoencephalography-based speech envelope reconstruction and a sustained selective li...
Article
Full-text available
Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) has been widely used as a research tool to modulate cortical excitability of motor as well as non-motor areas, including auditory or language-related areas. NIBS, especially transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation, have also been used in clinical settings, with howeve...
Article
Full-text available
Significance In sophisticated auditory–motor learning such as musical instrument learning, little is understood about how brain plasticity develops over time and how the related individual variability is reflected in the neural architecture. In a longitudinal fMRI training study on cello learning, we reveal the integrative function of the dorsal co...
Preprint
Full-text available
This research uses an MR-Compatible cello to compare functional brain activation during singing and cello playing within the same individuals to determine the extent to which arbitrary auditory-motor associations, like those required to play the cello, co-opt functional brain networks that evolved for singing. Musical instrument playing and singing...
Article
Full-text available
This research uses an MR-Compatible cello to compare functional brain activation during singing and cello playing within the same individuals to determine the extent to which arbitrary auditory-motor associations, like those required to play the cello, co-opt functional brain networks that evolved for singing. Musical instrument playing and singing...
Article
Frequency‐tuned noninvasive brain stimulation is a recent approach in cognitive neuroscience that involves matching the frequency of transcranially applied electromagnetic fields to that of specific oscillatory components of the underlying neurophysiology. The objective of this method is to modulate ongoing/intrinsic brain oscillations, which corre...
Article
Full-text available
Polyphonic music listening well exemplifies processes typically involved in daily auditory scene analysis situations, relying on an interactive interplay between bottom-up and top-down processes. Most studies investigating scene analysis have used elementary auditory scenes, however real-world scene analysis is far more complex. In particular, musi...
Data
Experiment 2 condition specific Hit rates (squares) and False Alarm rates (dots) for group mean (colors) and individuals (black). Attention condition: Red, Aggregate; Blue, Bassoon; Green, Cello; Timbre distance: Max, maximum; Int, intermediate; Min, minimum.
Data
Experiment 2 directed acyclic graph of Bayesian hierarchical model parameters for the d-prime model. Bias is modeled equally to d-prime, connecting to this model within the Hit and FA nodes. For simplicity, bias modeling is omitted from this graph. Notation based on Dietz (2010); see http://github.com/jluttine/tikz-bayesnet.
Data
Mean pitch (a) and mean absolute frequency modulation (b) for bassoon (blue dots) and cello (green dots) per composition included in Experiment 1. Accuracy per composition across all trials for Experiment 1 (c) and Experiment 2 (d); red horizontal line, median; box, 25th–75th percentile.
Data
Experiment 2 Bayesian hierarchical model, showing several possible contrasts and interactions; horizontal lines below histograms, 95% HDI.
Article
Full-text available
Humans have the unique capacity to experience pleasure from aesthetic stimuli, such as art and music. Recent neuroimaging findings with music have led to a model in which mesolimbic striatal circuits interact with cortical systems to generate expectancies leading to pleasure 1,2. However, neuroimaging approaches are correlational. Here, we provide...
Chapter
Full-text available
A small percentage of healthy individuals do not find music pleasurable, a condition known as specific musical anhedonia. These individuals have no impairment in music perception which might account for their anhedonia; their sensitivity to primary and secondary rewards is also preserved, and they do not show generalized depression. However, it is...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Musical training is a good thing, but does it benefit us in hearing speech in noise as has been suggested? If so, what is the brain mechanism behind this? Here we provide evidence of musician advantage on speech in noise perception at not only the behavioral level but also the level of neural representations of phonemes and functional...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to dance relies on the ability to synchronize movements to a perceived musical beat. Typically, beat synchronization is studied with auditory stimuli. However, in many typical social dancing situations, music can also be perceived as vibrations when objects that generate sounds also generate vibrations. This vibrotactile musical percept...
Article
Full-text available
Speech-in-noise (SIN) perception is a complex cognitive skill that affects social, vocational, and educational activities. Poor SIN ability particularly affects young and elderly populations, yet varies considerably even among healthy young adults with normal hearing. Although SIN skills are known to be influenced by top-down processes that can sel...
Article
Full-text available
Musicians are highly trained to discriminate fine pitch changes but the neural bases of this ability are poorly understood. It is unclear whether such training-dependent differences in pitch processing arise already in the subcortical auditory system or are linked to more central stages. To address this question, we combined psychoacoustic testing...
Article
Full-text available
The implication of the dorsal stream in manipulating auditory information in working memory has been recently established. However, the oscillatory dynamics within this network and its causal relationship with behavior remain undefined. Using simultaneous MEG/EEG, we show that theta oscillations in the dorsal stream predict participants’ manipulati...