Thursday, March 13, 2014


The brain’s motor network helps people remember and recognize music that they have performed in the past better than music they have only heard, new research shows.
The study sheds new light on how humans perceive and produce sounds, and may pave the way for investigations into whether motor learning could improve or protect memory or cognitive impairment in aging populations. The work appears in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
For the study, researchers recruited twenty skilled pianists from Lyon, France. The group was asked to learn simple melodies by either hearing them several times or performing them several times on a piano. Pianists then heard all of the melodies they had learned, some of which contained wrong notes, while their brain electric signals were measured using electroencephalography (EEG).
“We found that pianists were better at recognizing pitch changes in melodies they had performed earlier,” says the study’s first author, Brian Mathias, a McGill PhD student who conducted the work at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre in France with additional collaborators Barbara Tillmann and Fabien Perrin.

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