Neural correlates of processing musical meaning (semantics) Stefan

Neural correlates of processing musical meaning (semantics) Stefan

Neural correlates of processing musical meaning (semantics) Stefan Koelsch What is musical meaning? Music is capable of transferring meaning information, and is an important means of communication. Most theorists distinguish between

different aspects of musical meaning: (a) meaning which emerges from common patterns or forms (e.g., musical sound patterns that resemble sounds of objects, or qualities of objects) (b) meaning which arises from the suggestion of a particular mood

(e.g., happy) (c) meaning due to extramusical associations (e.g., any national anthem) (d) meaning that emerges from combinations of formal structures that create tension (e.g., when perceiving an unexpected chord) and resolution (L.B. Meyer, 1956). The emergence of meaning based on the processing of musical structure requires integration of both

expected and unexpected events into a larger, meaningful musical context. Music can activate representations of meaningful concepts Koelsch et al., Nat Neurosci 2004

The N400 receives contributions from neurons located in the temporal lobe Koelsch et al., Nat Neurosci 2004 Affective priming paradigm

Steinbeis & Koelsch, PLoS-ONE 2008 Electric brain responses to word (A) and chord (B) targets Word targets incongruous with the expressed affect of the preceding chord elicited

an increased N400 between 300500 ms distributed broadly over the scalp (A) with a centro-parietal maximum. Chord targets incongruous with the expressed affect of the preceding word elicited an increased N400 between 200400 ms distributed broadly over the scalp (B) with a fronto-central maximum. Steinbeis & Koelsch, PLoS-ONE 2008 BOLD responses to word (A) and

chord (B) targets Incongruous word targets activated the right MTG (A), whereas incongruous chord targets activated the right posterior STS (B). Data is displayed at a threshold of p<0.005 (uncorrected) for visual purposes. Steinbeis & Koelsch, PLoS-ONE 2008

Brain structures for processing meaning in music and language overlap Wernickes area Priming studies with chords & words N400 to words shows that musical information (even a

single chord) has systematic effects on semantic processing of words N400 to chords shows that such a semantic processing can also elicited by musical information The processing of musical semantics appears to involve the superior temporal sulcus / middle and superior temporal gyurs (right > left)

Caroline Traube, 2007 Interactions between music and language processing Processing of music can interact with languagesemantic processing

Steinbeis & Koelsch, Cerebral Cortex, 2007

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