May 2, 2016

Don't forget the lyrics! Spatiotemporal dynamics of neural mechanisms spontaneously evoked by gaps of silence in familiar and newly learned songs

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Damien GabrielPierre Vandel


The vast majority of people experience musical imagery, the sensation of reliving a song in absence of any external stimulation. Internal perception of a song can be deliberate and effortful, but also may occur involuntarily and spontaneously. Moreover, musical imagery is also involuntarily used for automatically completing missing parts of music or lyrics from a familiar song. The aim of our study was to explore the onset of musical imagery dynamics that leads to the automatic completion of missing lyrics. High-density electroencephalography was used to record the cerebral activity of twenty healthy volunteers while they were passively listening to unfamiliar songs, very familiar songs, and songs previously listened to for two weeks. Silent gaps inserted into these songs elicited a series of neural activations encompassing perceptual, attentional and cognitive mechanisms (range 100-500ms). Familiarity and learning effects emerged as early as 100ms and lasted 400ms after silence occurred. Although participants reported more easily mentally imagining lyrics in familiar rather than passively learnt songs, the onset of neural mechanisms and the power spectrum underlying musical imagery were similar for both types of songs. This st...Continue Reading

  • References62
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  • References62
  • Citations2


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