Decrease in early right alpha band phase synchronization and late gamma band oscillations in processing syntax in music

Authors

  • María Herrojo Ruiz,

    1. Departamento de Física Fundamental, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain
    2. Institute of Music Physiology and Musician's Medicine, Hanover University of Music and Drama, Hanover, Germany
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  • Stefan Koelsch,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, United Kingdom
    2. Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Joydeep Bhattacharya

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London, United Kingdom
    2. Commission for Scientific Visualization, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna 1220, Austria
    • Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross SE14 6NW, London, UK
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Abstract

The present study investigated the neural correlates associated with the processing of music-syntactical irregularities as compared with regular syntactic structures in music. Previous studies reported an early (∼200 ms) right anterior negative component (ERAN) by traditional event-related-potential analysis during music-syntactical irregularities, yet little is known about the underlying oscillatory and synchronization properties of brain responses which are supposed to play a crucial role in general cognition including music perception. First we showed that the ERAN was primarily represented by low frequency (<8 Hz) brain oscillations. Further, we found that music-syntactical irregularities as compared with music-syntactical regularities, were associated with (i) an early decrease in the alpha band (9–10 Hz) phase synchronization between right fronto-central and left temporal brain regions, and (ii) a late (∼500 ms) decrease in gamma band (38–50 Hz) oscillations over fronto-central brain regions. These results indicate a weaker degree of long-range integration when the musical expectancy is violated. In summary, our results reveal neural mechanisms of music-syntactic processing that operate at different levels of cortical integration, ranging from early decrease in long-range alpha phase synchronization to late local gamma oscillations. Hum Brain Mapp 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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