Project

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Behavioral, neuro-functional and neuro-anatomical correlates of experience dependant music perception

Applicant James Clara
Number 125050
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Laboratoire du Développement et des Apprenti FPSE Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.10.2009 - 30.09.2014
Approved amount 345'724.00
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Keywords (16)

musical harmony; musical perception; functional and structural brain adaptations; EEG; cognitive functioning; expectation violation of musical harmony; brain plasticity; musical expertise; multi-modal brain imaging; EEG; fMRI; VBM; MR-DTI; general cognition; working memory; fluid intelligence

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The continuum of expertise levels, and also the fact that virtually all human cognitive functions are involved in musical activities, promotes musical conduct to a privileged model for research on experience driven behavioral and cerebral changes in cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
Lay summary

This research project, that pertains to the field of cognitive neuroscience, investigated brain adaptations in correlation with changes of behavior in 60 age and sex matched young adults with 3 distinct levels of musical proficiency. The main experimental strategy relied on the perception of graded expectation violations in expressive music by musical laymen, amateur and professional pianists. During functional brain imagery we presented a comprehensive set of 120 specifically composed string quartets covering all minor and major tonalities. The endings (cadences) of these compelling pieces were manipulated hierarchically, resulting in either regular, subtly or apparently transgressed cadences. A multimodal neuroimaging approach was applied, collecting electro-encephalographic (EEG), as well as functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (MR-DTI) data, in order to gather optimal temporal and spatial information about brain function and structure. A supplementary battery of behavioral assessments relating to the main task, including tests on working memory, fluid intelligence and musicality was applied. Furthermore, participants responded to an exhaustive questionnaire on passive and active musical experience across their lifespan. Thus our experimental design allowed studying the relationships between 1. behavioral data on lifespan musical education, musical and general cognition, 2. functional brain imagery data on music perception (fMRI, EEG) and 3. brain structure in gray (sMRI) and white matter (MR-DTI).

Additionally, an adult lesion patient passed our full battery of behavioral testing and brain imaging. Then, using the same musical material, we studied behavior and EEG responses in primary schoolchildren.

MAIN CONCLUSION: Due to our unique set of expressive ecological musical stimuli and our cutting-edge functional and structural imaging data we could reveal gradual changes in brain functioning and structure relative to music processing and general cognition with increasing musical expertise and transgression salience. As our groups were very well matched and controlled (inclusion-exclusion criteria), these results suggest that mainly nurture, not nature, rules such cerebral plasticity (see publications).
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.10.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Impact of major and minor mode on EEG frequency range activities of music processing as a function of expertise.
James Clara (2017), Impact of major and minor mode on EEG frequency range activities of music processing as a function of expertise., in Neuroscience Letters, 647, 159-164.
Tracking training-related plasticity by combining fMRI and DTI: The right hemisphere ventral stream mediates musical syntax processing
James Clara (2017), Tracking training-related plasticity by combining fMRI and DTI: The right hemisphere ventral stream mediates musical syntax processing, in Cerebral Cortex, 1-10.
Electrophysiological evidence for a specific neural correlate of musical violation expectation in primary-school children
James Clara (2015), Electrophysiological evidence for a specific neural correlate of musical violation expectation in primary-school children, in NeuroImage, 104, 386-397.
Musical training intensity yields opposite effects on grey matter density in cognitive versus sensorimotor networks.
James Clara (2014), Musical training intensity yields opposite effects on grey matter density in cognitive versus sensorimotor networks., in Brain Structure and Function, 219(1), 353-366.
Degree of Musical Expertise Modulates Higher Order Brain Functioning
Oechslin Mathias (2013), Degree of Musical Expertise Modulates Higher Order Brain Functioning, in Cerebral Cortex, 23(9), 2213-2224.
Hippocampal volume predicts fluid intelligence in musically trained people.
Oechslin Mathias (2013), Hippocampal volume predicts fluid intelligence in musically trained people., in Hippocampus, 23(7), 552-558.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Alexandre Croquelois; Department of Fundamental Neurosciences, CHUV, Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication
Julien Chanal; Methodology and Data Analysis Unit, FPSE University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Markus Geschwind; Neurology Department, HUG Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Brain & Behaviour Laboratory 2009-2016, Symposium anniversaire Talk given at a conference How musical practice sculpts brain and behavior 28.11.2016 Auditoire de Pédiatrie – Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland James Clara;
4th International Conference on Music & Emotion (ICME) 2015 Talk given at a conference Musical Minds: Musical practice driven behavioral and cerebral brain plasticity 12.10.2015 Geneva, Campus Biotech, Switzerland James Clara;
The Neurosciences and Music - V. Cognitive Stimulation and Rehabilitation 2014 Poster Electrophysiological evidence for a specific neural correlate of musical violation expectation in primary-school children 29.05.2014 Dijon, France Oechslin Mathias; James Clara;
Society for Neuroscience 43rd Annual Meeting 2013 Poster ERP microstates and source imaging reveal progressive changes in cerebral processing of musical syntax with level of musical expertise 09.11.2013 San Diego, United States of America James Clara; Lazeyras François; Van De Ville Dimitri; Oechslin Mathias;
18th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping 2012 Poster 2 Posters: The paradox of expertise: 1. Musical training intensity induces progressive increases and decreases of grey mater density; 2. Interactive Poster (I-Poster) : Hippocampus size predicts fluid intelligence in musically trained people 10.06.2012 Beijing, China James Clara; Oechslin Mathias; Hauert Claude-Alain; Lazeyras François; Van De Ville Dimitri;
Symposium: Processing along dorsal and ventral streams in the brain 2011 Individual talk The dual pathway and the modalities: Music 13.10.2011 Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany, Germany Oechslin Mathias;
The brain on music, HackteriaLab, Zurich, 2011 Individual talk The brain on music 17.08.2011 HackteriaLab, Zurich, Switzerland Oechslin Mathias;
Organization (plus talk) Symposium 2: Impacts of musical expertise on cerebral language processing. The Neuroscience and Music IV. Learning and Memory 2011 Talk given at a conference Impacts of musical expertise on cerebral language processing, Symposium 2 06.06.2011 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Oechslin Mathias; James Clara;
The Neurosciences and Music – IV. Learning and Memory 2011 Poster 2 Posters: 1. Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Part 1: Spatio-temporal ERP analyses and source imaging; 2. Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Part 2: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging data 06.06.2011 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Oechslin Mathias; Van De Ville Dimitri; Hauert Claude-Alain; Lazeyras François; James Clara;
Seminar "Neurosciences cliniques" at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) 2011 Individual talk Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Part 1: Spatio-temporal ERP analyses and source imaging 01.06.2011 Lausanne, Switzerland James Clara;
Research day Brain and Behavior Laboratory (BBL) and Center of Biomedical Imaging (CIBM) 2011 Talk given at a conference Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging data 20.04.2011 Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland Oechslin Mathias; James Clara;
15th Anniversary Symposium, Swiss Society of Neuroscience (SSN) 2011 Poster 2 Posters: 1. Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Part 1: Spatio-temporal ERP analyses and source imaging; 2. Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Part 2: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging data 26.03.2011 Basel, Switzerland Lazeyras François; James Clara; Oechslin Mathias; Van De Ville Dimitri; Hauert Claude-Alain;
Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting 2011 Poster 2 Posters: 1. Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Part 1: Spatio-temporal ERP analyses and source imaging; 2. Musical syntax processing as a function of musical expertise: Part 2: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging data 09.01.2011 Champéry, Switzerland Oechslin Mathias; Lazeyras François; James Clara; Van De Ville Dimitri; Hauert Claude-Alain;
Interdisciplinary Colloquium "Music and Emotion" organized by the Swiss Center of Affective Sciences 2010 Talk given at a conference Behavioral, neuro-functional and neuro-anatomical correlates of experience dependent music perception 04.12.2010 Geneva, Switzerland James Clara;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
"Le cerveau musicien”, Formation continue pour la « Confédération des écoles genevoises de musique, rythmique Jacques-Dalcroze, danse et théatre" 2016 Talk 06.09.2016 Institut Jacques Dalcroze Geneva, Switzerland James Clara;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television "Le Mag: les sportifs utilisent la musique pour se préparer" RTS "Sport dimanche" Interview télévision « flash » Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television CQFD (science et santé), "Les secrets de la mémoire" Episode 8 "La musique" RTS – La Première, CQFD "Les secrets de la mémoire" Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television CQFD Rencontre avec Clara James RTS – La Première, CQFD Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television "Specimen" interview C. James "La musique, cette potion magique" March 2014 TSR Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Interview C. James "Sciences & Vie" "A chaque métier son cerveau" December 2013 Sciences et Vie (French Journal) International 2013
Media relations: radio, television "Babylone" interview C. James "Ouverture Festival Musique et Sciences” November 2012 Espace 2 RSR Western Switzerland 2012
Media relations: radio, television "Babylone" interview C. James "Cerveau et musique” March 2010 Espace 2 RSR Western Switzerland 2010
Media relations: radio, television "Impatience" interview C. James "Faites chanter vos neurones" September 2010 RSR la 1ère Western Switzerland 2010
Media relations: radio, television "Impatience" portrait C. James "Musique et émotions" December 2010 RSR la 1ère Western Switzerland 2010
Media relations: print media, online media "Tribune de Genève" interview C. James "La musicalité est inscrite dans nos gènes” March 2010 Tribune de Genève Western Switzerland 2010
Talks/events/exhibitions Festival de Jazz de Montreux C. James "L’expression musicale: du cerveau à l’émotion" July 2010 Western Switzerland 2010
Talks/events/exhibitions International Brain Week Geneva C. James "La musicalité humaine" March 2010 Western Switzerland 2010
Media relations: radio, television Téléjournal C. James "Pourquoi notre cerveau réagit si vivement à la musique ?" March 2010 TSR Western Switzerland 2010

Awards

Title Year
OHBM (Organization for Human Brain Mapping) Trainee Abstract Travel Award 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
150816 CIBM human advanced MR imaging platform 01.04.2014 R'EQUIP

Abstract

This research project, that pertains to the field of cognitive neuroscience, investigated brain adaptations in correlation with changes of behavior in 60 age and sex matched young adults with 3 distinct levels of musical proficiency. The main experimental strategy relied on the perception of graded expectation violations in expressive music by musical laymen, amateur and professional pianists. During functional brain imagery we presented a comprehensive set of 120 specifically composed string quartets covering all minor and major tonalities. The endings (cadences) of these compelling pieces were manipulated hierarchically, resulting in either regular, subtly or apparently transgressed cadences. A multimodal neuroimaging approach was applied, collecting electro-encephalographic (EEG), as well as functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (MR-DTI) data, in order to gather optimal temporal and spatial information about brain function and structure. A supplementary battery of behavioral assessments relating to the main task, including tests on working memory, fluid intelligence and musicality was applied. Furthermore, participants responded to an exhaustive questionnaire on passive and active musical experience across their lifespan. Thus our experimental design allowed studying the relationships between 1. behavioral data on lifespan musical education, musical and general cognition, 2. functional brain imagery data on music perception (fMRI, EEG) and 3. brain structure in gray (sMRI) and white matter (MR-DTI).Additionally, an adult lesion patient passed our full battery of behavioral testing and brain imaging. Then, using the same musical material, we studied behavior and EEG responses in primary schoolchildren.MAIN CONCLUSION: Due to our unique set of expressive ecological musical stimuli and our cutting-edge functional and structural imaging data we could reveal gradual changes in brain functioning and structure relative to music processing and general cognition with increasing musical expertise and transgression salience. As our groups were very well matched and controlled (inclusion-exclusion criteria), these results suggest that mainly nurture, not nature, rules such cerebral plasticity (see publications).
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