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The neural basis for understanding imitation-induced musical meaning: the role of the human mirror system

Jiang, J., Liu, F., Zhou, L. and Jiang, C. (2019) The neural basis for understanding imitation-induced musical meaning: the role of the human mirror system. Behavioural Brain Research, 359. pp. 362-369. ISSN 0166-4328

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.11.020

Abstract/Summary

Music can convey meanings by imitating phenomena of the extramusical world, and these imitation-induced musical meanings can be understood by listeners. Although the human mirror system (HMS) is implicated in imitation, little is known about the HMS’s role in making sense of meaning that derives from musical imitation. To answer this question, we used fMRI to examine listeners’ brain activities during the processing of imitation-induced musical meaning with a cross-modal semantic priming paradigm. Eleven normal individuals and 11 individuals with congenital amusia, a neurodevelopmental disorder of musical processing, participated in the experiment. Target pictures with either an upward or downward movement were primed by semantically congruent or incongruent melodic sequences characterized by the direction of pitch change (upward or downward). When contrasting the incongruent with the congruent condition between the two groups, we found greater activations in the left supramarginal gyrus/inferior parietal lobule and inferior frontal gyrus in normals but not in amusics. The implications of these findings in terms of the role of the HMS in understanding imitation-induced musical meaning are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:80601
Publisher:Elsevier

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