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 Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>