Recent neural studies have established 3 limbic regions, namely the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the nucleus accumbens (NAc), as the fundamental nodes of the neural circuit responsible for experiencing musical emotions. Here we investigate how musical expertise modulates this circuit during continuous music listening. Eighteen nonmusicians and 21 musicians were measured with functional MRI (fMRI) while they listened to three 8-min long musical pieces representing different musical styles (tango nuevo, modern classical, and progressive rock). Functional connectivity maps of seeds belonging to the amygdala, hippocampus, and NAc were obtained for each participant. Group-level t tests revealed that, overall, musicians exhibited enhanced connectivity with the supplementary motor area (SMA), and with ventromedial and ventrolateral cerebral and cerebellar affective regions. On the contrary, nonmusicians displayed greater connectivity with subcortical regions only. We found the amygdala network previously associated with perceiving negative valence in music to be more tightly coupled in musicians than nonmusicians. Similarly, the hippocampal network previously related to tracking repeating musical motifs during continuous music listening was more coupled in musicians. The lack of group differences observed for right NAc connectivity reinforce the notion that the mesocorticolimbic reward network is not modulated by musical expertise, whereas left NAc connectivity results suggest that musical expertise intensifies the rewarding aspect of music selectively in the left hemisphere. In sum, during music listening musicians’ deep perceptual and motoric knowledge of music increases the coupling between areas that process musical emotions with areas that process motor commands and pleasure.

Musical expertise modulates functional connectivity of limbic regions during continuous music listening

Brattico, Elvira
Supervision
;
2015

Abstract

Recent neural studies have established 3 limbic regions, namely the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the nucleus accumbens (NAc), as the fundamental nodes of the neural circuit responsible for experiencing musical emotions. Here we investigate how musical expertise modulates this circuit during continuous music listening. Eighteen nonmusicians and 21 musicians were measured with functional MRI (fMRI) while they listened to three 8-min long musical pieces representing different musical styles (tango nuevo, modern classical, and progressive rock). Functional connectivity maps of seeds belonging to the amygdala, hippocampus, and NAc were obtained for each participant. Group-level t tests revealed that, overall, musicians exhibited enhanced connectivity with the supplementary motor area (SMA), and with ventromedial and ventrolateral cerebral and cerebellar affective regions. On the contrary, nonmusicians displayed greater connectivity with subcortical regions only. We found the amygdala network previously associated with perceiving negative valence in music to be more tightly coupled in musicians than nonmusicians. Similarly, the hippocampal network previously related to tracking repeating musical motifs during continuous music listening was more coupled in musicians. The lack of group differences observed for right NAc connectivity reinforce the notion that the mesocorticolimbic reward network is not modulated by musical expertise, whereas left NAc connectivity results suggest that musical expertise intensifies the rewarding aspect of music selectively in the left hemisphere. In sum, during music listening musicians’ deep perceptual and motoric knowledge of music increases the coupling between areas that process musical emotions with areas that process motor commands and pleasure.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/270441
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