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The left dorsal stream causally mediates the tone labeling in absolute pitch


Rogenmoser, Lars; Arnicane, Andra; Jäncke, Lutz; Elmer, Stefan (2021). The left dorsal stream causally mediates the tone labeling in absolute pitch. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1500(1):122-133.

Abstract

Absolute pitch (AP) refers to the ability to effortlessly identify given pitches without any reference. Correlative evidence suggests that the left posterior dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is responsible for the process underlying pitch labeling in AP. Here, we measured the sight-reading performance of right-handed AP possessors and matched controls under cathodal and sham transcranial direct current stimulation of the left DLPFC. The participants were instructed to report notations as accurately and as fast as possible by playing with their right hand on a piano. The notations were simultaneously presented with distracting auditory stimuli that either matched or mismatched them in different semitone degrees. Unlike the controls, AP possessors revealed an interference effect in that they responded slower in mismatching conditions than in the matching one. Under cathodal stimulation, this interference effect disappeared. These findings confirm that the pitch-labeling process underlying AP occurs automatically and is largely nonsuppressible when triggered by tone exposure. The improvement of the AP possessors' sight-reading performances in response to the suppression of the left DLPFC using cathodal stimulation confirms a causal relationship between this brain structure and pitch labeling.

Abstract

Absolute pitch (AP) refers to the ability to effortlessly identify given pitches without any reference. Correlative evidence suggests that the left posterior dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is responsible for the process underlying pitch labeling in AP. Here, we measured the sight-reading performance of right-handed AP possessors and matched controls under cathodal and sham transcranial direct current stimulation of the left DLPFC. The participants were instructed to report notations as accurately and as fast as possible by playing with their right hand on a piano. The notations were simultaneously presented with distracting auditory stimuli that either matched or mismatched them in different semitone degrees. Unlike the controls, AP possessors revealed an interference effect in that they responded slower in mismatching conditions than in the matching one. Under cathodal stimulation, this interference effect disappeared. These findings confirm that the pitch-labeling process underlying AP occurs automatically and is largely nonsuppressible when triggered by tone exposure. The improvement of the AP possessors' sight-reading performances in response to the suppression of the left DLPFC using cathodal stimulation confirms a causal relationship between this brain structure and pitch labeling.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 September 2021
Deposited On:31 May 2021 14:13
Last Modified:23 Sep 2021 01:06
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0077-8923
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14616
PubMed ID:34046902

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