Poster D107, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Structural Brain Differences in Jazz Improvising Musicians
Cameron Arkin1, Charles Pfeifer1, Emily Przysinda1, Psyche Loui1; 11Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience and Behavior, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, USA
Jazz improvisation requires execution of creative musical ideas in real time. Here we investigate structural differences between the brains of improvising jazz musicians, musicians, and nonmusicians. We hypothesize that regions important for auditory-motor and cognitive control functions will show structural differences in jazz musicians compared to non-improvising musicians and nonmusicians. T1 images were acquired from nonmusicians (n=12), musicians (n=12), and jazz musicians (n=12) and run through the Freesurfer pipeline to identify surface area, volume, and cortical thickness values for each region. Our hypothesized regions of interest included the superior temporal gyrus, cingulate, and precentral gyrus, corresponding to auditory, cognitive control, and motor processes respectively. Results showed that Jazz musicians had significantly larger surface area and volume in the superior temporal gyrus, precentral gyrus, and rostral anterior cingulate in the left hemisphere (main effect of group, p<0.0167). In the right hemisphere a main effect of group was seen in surface area for the posterior cingulate cortex and superior temporal gyrus (p<0.05). Additional whole-brain analyses revealed differences in entorhinal cortex, inferior parietal lobule, and insula in the right hemisphere, and the fusiform gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, and lateral occipital gyrus in the left hemisphere (p<0.05). However, these additional regions did not survive Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons (p<0.0015). Results show that regions associated with auditory and motor processes as well as integration processes are significantly larger in jazz musicians, suggesting that these two networks are involved together in executing auditory-motor ideas into improvisational pieces of music.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition