Nov 21, 2009

Cross-domain effects of music and language experience on the representation of pitch in the human auditory brainstem

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Gavin M BidelmanAnanthanarayan Krishnan


Neural encoding of pitch in the auditory brainstem is known to be shaped by long-term experience with language or music, implying that early sensory processing is subject to experience-dependent neural plasticity. In language, pitch patterns consist of sequences of continuous, curvilinear contours; in music, pitch patterns consist of relatively discrete, stair-stepped sequences of notes. The primary aim was to determine the influence of domain-specific experience (language vs. music) on the encoding of pitch in the brainstem. Frequency-following responses were recorded from the brainstem in native Chinese, English amateur musicians, and English nonmusicians in response to iterated rippled noise homologues of a musical pitch interval (major third; M3) and a lexical tone (Mandarin tone 2; T2) from the music and language domains, respectively. Pitch-tracking accuracy (whole contour) and pitch strength (50 msec sections) were computed from the brainstem responses using autocorrelation algorithms. Pitch-tracking accuracy was higher in the Chinese and musicians than in the nonmusicians across domains. Pitch strength was more robust across sections in musicians than in nonmusicians regardless of domain. In contrast, the Chinese showed...Continue Reading

  • References35
  • Citations112


  • References35
  • Citations112

Mentioned in this Paper

Entire Brainstem
Reaction Time
Sound Waves
Pitch Perception
Neuronal Plasticity
Functional Cerebral Localization
Sensory Process
Auditory Brainstem Responses
Brain Stem

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