Musicians are slower – but better – at discriminating timbres, instrumental and vocal

Title of paper under discussion Superior voice timbre processing in musicians Authors Jean-Pierre Chartrand and Pascal Belin Journal Neuroscience Letters 405 (2006) 164–167 Link to paper (free access) Overview This study set out to compare musicians and non-musicians in their abilities to tell different timbres apart. In the first set of tasks, ‘instrumental timbre discrimination’, …

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Poor speech can be related to poor manual timing

Title of paper under discussion Pitch and Timing Abilities in Inherited Speech and Language Impairment Authors Katherine J. Alcock, Richard E. Passingham, Kate Watkins, and Faraneh Vargha-Khadem Journal Brain and Language 75, 34–46 (2000) Link to paper (free access) Overview Some members of a large extended family – the ‘KE family’ – suffer from an …

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Women are better at processing melodies heard in their left ears

Title of paper under discussion Laterality effects in the processing of melody and timbre Authors RUSS BOUCHER and M. P. BRYDEN Journal Neuropsychologia, Vol. 35, No. 11, pp. 1467-1473. 1997 Link to paper (free access) Overview Listening with headphones to a series of musical excerpts – each of which was in fact two different melodies …

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Dissonant chords and unpleasant pictures tickle the same brain area

Title of paper under discussion Emotional responses to pleasant and unpleasant music correlate with activity in paralimbic brain regions Authors Anne J. Blood, Robert J. Zatorre, Patrick Bermudez and Alan C. Evans Journal Nature Neuroscience, volume 2 no 4, April 1999, pp382-387 Link to paper (free access) Overview Anne Blood and her colleagues at McGill …

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Music at bedtime helps students sleep

Title of paper under discussion Music improves sleep quality in students Authors László Harmat, Johanna Takács & Róbert Bódizs Journal Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol 62, issue 3, pp 327-335 (May 2008) Link to paper (free access) Overview Nearly 100 Hungarian students with sleeping complaints were divided into three groups. Two of the groups were …

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Absolute (perfect) pitch is inherited, but needs early musical training to develop

Title of paper under discussion Absolute Pitch: An Approach for Identification of Genetic and Nongenetic Components Authors Siamak Baharloo, Paul A. Johnston, Susan K. Service, Jane Gitschier and Nelson B. Freimer Journal American Journal of Human Genetics, vol 62, pp 224–231, 1998 Link to paper (free access) (with thanks to The Institute for Music and Brain Science for …

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Background music helps you think – but only if it’s familiar

Title of paper under discussion Music effects on event-related potentials of humans on the basis of cultural environment Authors Mehmet Kemal Arikan, Müge Devrim, Öznur Oran, Seniha Inan, Meyselon Elhih, Tamer Demiralp Journal Neuroscience Letters, 268 (1999) pp 21-24 Link to paper (free access) (with thanks to The Institute for Music and Brain Science for …

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No musical ‘shivers’ without the left insula

Title of paper under discussion ‘‘When the feeling’s gone’’: a selective loss of musical emotion Authors T D Griffiths, J D Warren, J L Dean, D Howard Journal J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2004; 75:341–345 Link to paper (free access – scroll down to last two pages) Overview Are different brain areas responsible for handling music perception …

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A singing brain has a busier right hemisphere than a speaking one

Title of paper under discussion Shared and distinct neural correlates of singing and speaking Authors Elif Özdemir, Andrea Norton and Gottfried Schlaug Journal NeuroImage, vol 33 (2006), pp 628–635 Link to paper (free access) Overview Scan the brain of someone tackling a musical task and then take a further scan as they tackle a language …

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Sleep consolidates musical learning

Title of paper under discussion The influence of sleep on auditory learning: a behavioral study Authors Nadine Gaab, Miriam Paetzold, Markus Becker, Matthew P. Walker and Gottfried Schlaug Journal Neuroreport, 2004; vol 15 no4 pp 731-4 Link to paper (free access) Overview Improvement due to practising a skill is known to continue – without further practice – following …

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