Previous studies have demonstrated that the event-related potential (ERP) evoked by a note shows substantial differences depending on whether the note is part of a melodic context or presented in an unstructured repetition. In particular, the N2 component has been found to have considerably increased latency and a more frontal topography for notes presented in a melody. An open question is whether such effect is related to the 'meaningfulness' of a note sequence, that is due to the formation of abstract melodic entities, rather than more simply an indicator of cognitive load associated with processing a structurally-complex sequence as opposed to an unstructured repetition. In this study, we addressed this issue by recording ERPs from 10 healthy non-musicians listening to eight one-part unfamiliar tonal melodies and eight sequences of random notes. The two stimuli were matched for distribution of pitch, intervals and note duration as well as for entropy of the time-series of pitch and duration. While tonal melodies were rated more meaningful (p < 0.001) and pleasant (p < 0.001) by all participants, no effects were found for the N2 component amplitude (p >= 0.8) and latency (p = 0.2). Combined with previous findings, this indicates that the N2 evoked by each individual note responds to the structural complexity of the note sequence, i.e., to the presence of pitch and duration changes, but not to higher-level processing related to the formation of abstract melodic entities. In contrast, we found that the amplitude of the P2 component was marginally (p = 0.04) elevated for random notes as compared to tonal melodies. This may be related to attentional modulation, or more specifically to associative components of auditory processing.

Event-related potential (ERP) markers of melodic processing: The N2 component is modulated by structural complexity, not by melodic 'meaningfulness'

Rosazza C;
2010-01-01

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated that the event-related potential (ERP) evoked by a note shows substantial differences depending on whether the note is part of a melodic context or presented in an unstructured repetition. In particular, the N2 component has been found to have considerably increased latency and a more frontal topography for notes presented in a melody. An open question is whether such effect is related to the 'meaningfulness' of a note sequence, that is due to the formation of abstract melodic entities, rather than more simply an indicator of cognitive load associated with processing a structurally-complex sequence as opposed to an unstructured repetition. In this study, we addressed this issue by recording ERPs from 10 healthy non-musicians listening to eight one-part unfamiliar tonal melodies and eight sequences of random notes. The two stimuli were matched for distribution of pitch, intervals and note duration as well as for entropy of the time-series of pitch and duration. While tonal melodies were rated more meaningful (p < 0.001) and pleasant (p < 0.001) by all participants, no effects were found for the N2 component amplitude (p >= 0.8) and latency (p = 0.2). Combined with previous findings, this indicates that the N2 evoked by each individual note responds to the structural complexity of the note sequence, i.e., to the presence of pitch and duration changes, but not to higher-level processing related to the formation of abstract melodic entities. In contrast, we found that the amplitude of the P2 component was marginally (p = 0.04) elevated for random notes as compared to tonal melodies. This may be related to attentional modulation, or more specifically to associative components of auditory processing.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2671228
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