Poster C112, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Music and the brain: A causal role for the right superior temporal gyrus in expert music ability
Frank Garcea1,2, Benjamin Chernoff1, Bram Diamond1, Wesley Lewis1, Samuel Tomlinson3, Alexander Teghipco1, Raouf Belkhir1, Susan Smith3, Jonathan Stone3, Elizabeth Marvin4, Webster Pilcher3, Bradford Mahon1,2,3; 1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, USA, 2Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester, USA, 3Department of Neurosurgery, University of Rochester Medical Center, USA, 4Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, USA
The neural basis of musical ability has been the subject of focused inquiry over several decades, with many studies implicating the right superior temporal gyrus (rSTG) in music perception and production. Because existing neuropsychological evidence involves large lesions, and functional MRI (fMRI), magnetoencephalography, and electroencephalography are inherently correlative measures, there lacks decisive evidence for a causal role of the rSTG in supporting music ability. Here we present case AF, a 26 year-old expert musician who underwent music and language mapping during an awake neurosurgical procedure to remove a low-grade glioma medial and inferior to his rSTG. Preoperatively, AF was cognitively intact and performed at expert levels on standardized music aptitude tests. Three preoperative fMRI experiments identified the rSTG as being involved in i) melody perception and production, ii) repetition of melodies compared to sentence repetition, and iii) perception of melodies compared to perception of a range of environmental sounds. Similar effects were observed in 10 non-musician control patients with left hemisphere tumors. During the surgery, AF’s brain was electrically stimulated while he performed a similar task as he did during preoperative fMRI, and the stimulation points were registered to the preoperative fMRI data. When preoperative fMRI “hot-spots” were stimulated, AF presented with “music arrest,” but was unaffected in an equivalent sentence repetition task; multivariate analyses of preoperative fMRI and intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG) data indicated the highest decoding accuracy for melodies in those same regions of the rSTG. These findings indicate a causal role for the rSTG in music processing.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition