Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The musician in the mirror

17.01.2007
New study shows brain rapidly forms link between sounds and actions that produce them

A new imaging study shows that when we learn a new action with associated sounds, the brain quickly makes links between regions responsible for performing the action and those associated with the sound.

The findings may contribute to understanding how we acquire language and how we think of actions if we only hear their sounds, say authors Amir Lahav, ScD, and Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhD, of the neurology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Their work is described in the January 10 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"The findings have implications for understanding many complex processes, such as speech and music performance," says Robert Zatorre, PhD, "and they could encourage research into rehabilitative strategies using sound-movement tasks." Zatorre heads the auditory cognitive neuroscience laboratory at McGill University.

The authors also suggest that their findings provide evidence for the existence of a mirror neuron system in humans. Mirror neurons, first described in monkeys, are active not only when the monkey performs an action, but also when it sees the action performed by others or only hears the sound associated with the action. Some scientists debate their existence and function in humans.

The researchers taught nine subjects with no previous musical training to play a five-note, 24-second song on a keyboard. Then they ran functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans while the subjects listened to the song they had just learned, a different song using the same five notes, and a third song made up of additional notes.

When the subjects listened to the familiar music, their brains showed activity in a network of areas in the frontal and parietal lobes that are involved in the control of movements. The authors note that Broca's area, the human equivalent of the area in the brain where mirror neurons were found in monkeys, was particularly active when subjects listened to music they knew how to play compared with equally familiar music they did not know how to play.

"Mirror-neuron circuits appear to encode and reflect templates for specific actions," the authors say. "This may allow us to comprehend motor acts when they are observed or heard, without the need for explicit reasoning about them." The authors also suggest that the sound-related functions of a mirror-neuron system "might have developed for survival reasons, allowing us to understand actions even when they cannot be observed, but can only be heard, as when we hear footsteps in the dark."

Sara Harris | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bidmc.harvard.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>