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Neuroimage. 2005 Apr 1;25(2):444-51.

Separate cortical networks involved in music perception: preliminary functional MRI evidence for modularity of music processing.

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  • 1Imaging Research Center, Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, ML 5031, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Music perception is a quite complex cognitive task, involving the perception and integration of various elements including melody, harmony, pitch, rhythm, and timbre. A preliminary functional MRI investigation of music perception was performed, using a simplified passive listening task. Group independent component analysis (ICA) was used to separate out various components involved in music processing, as the hemodynamic responses are not known a priori. Various components consistent with auditory processing, expressive language, syntactic processing, and visual association were found. The results are discussed in light of various hypotheses regarding modularity of music processing and its overlap with language processing. The results suggest that, while some networks overlap with ones used for language processing, music processing may involve its own domain-specific processing subsystems.

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