Music training and mental imagery ability

André Aleman, Mark R. Nieuwenstein, Koen B.E. Böcker, Edward H.F. de Haan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neuroimaging studies have suggested that the auditory cortex is involved in music processing as well as in auditory imagery. We hypothesized that music training may be associated with improved auditory imagery ability. In this study, performance of musically trained and musically naive subjects was compared on: (1) a musical mental imagery task (in which subjects had to mentally compare pitches of notes corresponding to lyrics takes from familiar songs); (2) a non-musical auditory imagery task (in which subjects had to mentally compare the acoustic characteristics of everyday sounds); and (3) a comparable measure of visual imagery (in which subjects had to mentally compare visual forms of objectsNeuroimaging studies have suggested that the auditory cortex is involved in music processing as well as in auditory imagery. We hypothesized that music training may be associated with improved auditory imagery ability. In this study, performance of musically trained and musically naive subjects was compared on: (1) a musical mental imagery task tin which subjects had to mentally compare pitches of notes corresponding to lyrics takes from familiar songs); (2) a non-musical auditory imagery task tin which subjects had to mentally compare the acoustic characteristics of everyday sounds); and (3) a comparable measure of visual imagery tin which subjects had to mentally compare visual forms of objects). The musically trained group did not only perform better on the musical imagery task, but also outperformed musically naive subjects on the non-musical auditory imagery task. In contrast, the two groups did not differ on the visual imagery task. This finding is discussed in relation to theoretical proposals about music processing and brain activity. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.). The musically trained group did not only perform better on the musical imagery task, but also outperformed musically naive subjects on the non-musical auditory imagery task. In contrast, the two groups did not differ on the visual imagery task. This finding is discussed in relation to theoretical proposals about music processing and brain activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1664-1668
Number of pages5
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume38
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2000
Externally publishedYes

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