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You can't stop the music: reduced auditory alpha power and coupling between auditory and memory regions facilitate the illusory perception of music during noise


Müller, N; Keil, J; Obleser, J; Schulz, H; Grunwald, T; Bernays, R L; Huppertz, H J; Weisz, N (2013). You can't stop the music: reduced auditory alpha power and coupling between auditory and memory regions facilitate the illusory perception of music during noise. NeuroImage, 79:383-393.

Abstract

Our brain has the capacity of providing an experience of hearing even in the absence of auditory stimulation. This can be seen as illusory conscious perception. While increasing evidence postulates that conscious perception requires specific brain states that systematically relate to specific patterns of oscillatory activity, the relationship between auditory illusions and oscillatory activity remains mostly unexplained. To investigate this we recorded brain activity with magnetoencephalography and collected intracranial data from epilepsy patients while participants listened to familiar as well as unknown music that was partly replaced by sections of pink noise. We hypothesized that participants have a stronger experience of hearing music throughout noise when the noise sections are embedded in familiar compared to unfamiliar music. This was supported by the behavioral results showing that participants rated the perception of music during noise as stronger when noise was presented in a familiar context. Time-frequency data show that the illusory perception of music is associated with a decrease in auditory alpha power pointing to increased auditory cortex excitability. Furthermore, the right auditory cortex is concurrently synchronized with the medial temporal lobe, putatively mediating memory aspects associated with the music illusion. We thus assume that neuronal activity in the highly excitable auditory cortex is shaped through extensive communication between the auditory cortex and the medial temporal lobe, thereby generating the illusion of hearing music during noise.

Abstract

Our brain has the capacity of providing an experience of hearing even in the absence of auditory stimulation. This can be seen as illusory conscious perception. While increasing evidence postulates that conscious perception requires specific brain states that systematically relate to specific patterns of oscillatory activity, the relationship between auditory illusions and oscillatory activity remains mostly unexplained. To investigate this we recorded brain activity with magnetoencephalography and collected intracranial data from epilepsy patients while participants listened to familiar as well as unknown music that was partly replaced by sections of pink noise. We hypothesized that participants have a stronger experience of hearing music throughout noise when the noise sections are embedded in familiar compared to unfamiliar music. This was supported by the behavioral results showing that participants rated the perception of music during noise as stronger when noise was presented in a familiar context. Time-frequency data show that the illusory perception of music is associated with a decrease in auditory alpha power pointing to increased auditory cortex excitability. Furthermore, the right auditory cortex is concurrently synchronized with the medial temporal lobe, putatively mediating memory aspects associated with the music illusion. We thus assume that neuronal activity in the highly excitable auditory cortex is shaped through extensive communication between the auditory cortex and the medial temporal lobe, thereby generating the illusion of hearing music during noise.

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13 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurosurgery
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:1 October 2013
Deposited On:05 Sep 2013 12:25
Last Modified:23 Apr 2017 05:30
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.001
PubMed ID:23664946

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