Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A case of beat deafness?

Below the full episode of the Dutch Labyrint Tv program on Music and Neuroscience broadcasted on 14 December 2011. Unfortunately no English subtitles, but parts of it are English spoken.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meer weten over maatdoofheid? [Dutch]

Mathieu: de man zonder ritme.

Olaf Oudheusden (de regisseur van ‘De man zonder ritme’) en een heel team van enthousiaste programmamakers, waaronder Wiesje Kuijpers en Eef Grob, stopten veel energie in de aflevering van Labyrint over muziek en onze hersenen die gisteravond werd uitgezonden op Nederland 2. Je ziet het er, mijns inziens, aan af: zie de volledige aflevering op www.labyrint.nl. Voor een verslag van de online napraatsessie zie www.labyrint.nl.

Veel materiaal sneuvelt natuurlijk in de montage. Daarom hieronder een stukje uit de teleconferentie van een maand of wat geleden, tussen het CSCA in Amsterdam en BRAMS in Montréal, dat een aanvullend inzicht geeft in het ontbreken van maatgevoel bij Mathieu:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A case of congenital beat deafness? [Part 2]

Isabelle Peretz, Co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), told me about Mathieu during a workshop at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in November 2009. She was very excited, and I couldn’t but share her enthusiasm: She was pretty sure she found a beat-deaf person.
'Mathieu was discovered through a recruitment of subjects who felt they could not keep the beat in music, such as in clapping in time at a concert or dancing in a club. Mathieu was the only clear-cut case among volunteers who reported these problems. Despite a lifelong love of music and dancing, and musical training including lessons over several years in various instruments, voice, dance and choreography, Mathieu complained that he was unable to find the beat in music. Participation in music and dance activities, while pleasurable, had been difficult for him.' (from Phillips-Silver et al., 2011)
About one year later her group published a journal paper presenting some behavioral evidence that Mathieu was a case of congenital beat deafness.

The questions posted in a blog entry just after the publication of that study resulted in a collaboration in which next to behavioral also direct electrophysiological methods were used. Pascale Lidji (also associated with BRAMS) did an EEG/ERP experiment, modeled after our earlier Amsterdam experiments, to directly probe Mathieu’s apparent beat-deafness.

Last week we had a teleconference discussing the first experimental results (filmed by a Dutch TV crew following our work). These suggest that Mathieu’s brain did pick-up the beat, but his conscious perception did not, as several behavioral experiments confirmed. Intriguing, to say the least.

See below for some fragments from the teleconference:

And the trailer announcing the tv program to be broadcasted next week:

For more information, see the Labyrint tv website.

N.B. There will be a live broadcasted napraatsessie that can be viewed at www.labyrint.nl.

ResearchBlogging.orgPhillips-Silver, J., Toiviainen, P., Gosselin, N., Piché, O., Nozaradan, S., Palmer, C., & Peretz, I. (2011). Born to dance but beat deaf: A new form of congenital amusia Neuropsychologia DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Is muzikaliteit aangeboren of aangeleerd? [Dutch]

In de NTR-serie Pavlov stellen acht bekende Nederlanders een vraag aan de wetenschap. In deze uitzending test Fleur Bouwer (UvA) de muzikaliteit van Lavinia Meijer.

Zelf ook de luistertest doen? Hij duurt ongeveer twintig minuten. Klik hier.

Voor de volledige uitzending zie de website van Pavlov.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Which brain areas are involved in listening?

It's a persistent myth to think that music is processed solely in the right hemisphere. This week yet another study shows that, even when the processes are restricted to listening alone, virtually the whole brain is involved.

A Finish research group led by Petri Toiviainen found that music listening recruits not only the auditory areas of the brain, but also employs large-scale neural networks. They could show that the processing of musical pulse recruits motor areas in the brain, supporting the idea that music and movement are closely intertwined. Limbic areas of the brain, known to be associated with emotions, were found to be involved in rhythm and tonality processing. Processing of timbre was associated with activations in the so-called default mode network, which is assumed to be associated with mind-wandering and creativity.

Adapted from Stewart et al. (2009) Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. 

As said, this study is not alone in this. In a recent chapter Laurel Stewart and colleagues made a similar claim based on a review of a vast amount of literature. In the figure above (redrawn from the original) the circles indicate the areas where more than 50% of the existing literature agrees that they are involved. (N.B. it is good to realize these areas are actually part of whole networks, and not just single locations.) And here again, if you look at the brain networks involved in listening, you’ll notice that virtually the whole brain is involved.

ResearchBlogging.orgAlluri, V., Toiviainen, P., Jääskeläinen, I., Glerean, E., Sams, M., & Brattico, E. (2011). Large-scale brain networks emerge from dynamic processing of musical timbre, key and rhythm NeuroImage DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.11.019

ResearchBlogging.orgStewart L, von Kriegstein K, Warren JD, & Griffiths TD (2006). Music and the brain: disorders of musical listening. Brain : a journal of neurology, 129 (Pt 10), 2533-53 PMID: 16845129