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Cereb Cortex. 2015 May;25(5):1379-88. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht334. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Gray- and white-matter anatomy of absolute pitch possessors.

Author information

1
Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, University of Aarhus, Aarhus 8000, Denmark The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg 8000, Denmark.
2
Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, University of Aarhus, Aarhus 8000, Denmark Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital "Dr. José Eleuterio González", Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon 64460, Mexico Neuroscience Unit, Center for Research and Development in Health Sciences (CIDICS), Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon 64460, Mexico.
3
Kimel Family Translational Imaging Genetics Research Laboratory, Research Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Department of Psychiatry and Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M6J 1H4, Canada Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, Toronto, ON M6A 2E1, Canada.
4
Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, University of Aarhus, Aarhus 8000, Denmark Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus 8000, Denmark.
5
Program in Neuroscience and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON M5G 1X8, Canada Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5G 2M9, Canada.

Abstract

Absolute pitch (AP), the ability to identify a musical pitch without a reference, has been examined behaviorally in numerous studies for more than a century, yet only a few studies have examined the neuroanatomical correlates of AP. Here, we used MRI and diffusion tensor imaging to investigate structural differences in brains of musicians with and without AP, by means of whole-brain vertex-wise cortical thickness (CT) analysis and tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) analysis. APs displayed increased CT in a number of areas including the bilateral superior temporal gyrus (STG), the left inferior frontal gyrus, and the right supramarginal gyrus. Furthermore, we found higher fractional anisotropy in APs within the path of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, the uncinate fasciculus, and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. The findings in gray matter support previous studies indicating an increased left lateralized posterior STG in APs, yet they differ from previous findings of thinner cortex for a number of areas in APs. Finally, we found a relation between the white-matter results and the CT in the right parahippocampal gyrus. In this study, we present novel findings in AP research that may have implications for the understanding of the neuroanatomical underpinnings of AP ability.

KEYWORDS:

DTI; TBSS; absolute pitch; cortical thickness; music

PMID:
24304583
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bht334
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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