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Musical training modulates the early but not the late stage of rhythmic syntactic processing

Sun, L., Liu, F., Zhou, L. and Jiang, C. (2018) Musical training modulates the early but not the late stage of rhythmic syntactic processing. Psychophysiology, 55 (2). e12983. ISSN 0048-5772

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12983

Abstract/Summary

Syntactic processing is essential for musical understanding. Although the processing of harmonic syntax has been well studied, very little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying rhythmic syntactic processing. The present study investigated the neural processing of rhythmic syntax and whether and to what extent long-term musical training impacts such processing. Fourteen musicians and 14 nonmusicians listened to syntactic-regular or -irregular rhythmic sequences and judged the completeness of these sequences. Musicians, as well as nonmusicians, showed a P600 effect to syntactic-irregular endings, indicating that musical exposure and perceptual learning of music are sufficient to enable nonmusicians to process rhythmic syntax at the late stage. However, musicians, but not nonmusicians, also exhibited an ERAN response to syntactic-irregular endings, which suggests that musical training only modulates the early but not the late stage of rhythmic syntactic processing. These findings revealed for the first time the neural mechanisms underlying the processing of rhythmic syntax in music, which has important implications for theories of hierarchically-organized music cognition and comparative studies of syntactic processing in music and language.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:72013
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell

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