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Poster E88

Neural underpinnings of musicians’ enhanced continuity illusion for both speech and music

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Alejandra E Santoyo1, Kristina C Backer1, Daniel J Levitin2, Dulce K Pimental-Hurlburt1, Antoine J Shahin1; 1UC Merced, 2McGill University

The continuity illusion is an auditory phenomenon in which a sound stimulus is perceived as continuous through noise-filled interruptions. Enhanced continuity perception has been shown to be indexed neurophysiologically by reduced auditory theta (4-8 Hz) power and phase-locking as well as enhanced beta (14-30 Hz) power following interruption onsets/offsets. Using segments of classical music and trisyllabic words, we examined the behavioral and EEG responses to the continuity illusion in musicians (n =14) and non-musicians (n =16). Individuals identified whether the auditory stimuli sounded continuous or interrupted. We hypothesized that musicians’ enhanced ability to detect acoustic gaps would diminish their ability to experience the continuity illusion, and in turn exhibit less aforementioned theta and beta changes than non-musicians. Contrary to our predictions, behaviorally, musicians perceived continuity significantly more than the non-musicians for music and speech equally. EEG oscillatory results indicated that musicians exhibited more suppressed theta phase-locking and spectral power to interruption boundaries than non-musicians for both music and speech. Moreover, musicians exhibited greater motor alpha power for music and speech, and stronger motor beta power for speech only, suggesting a gating mechanism of motor activation in musicians to aid the integration of noise and speech—thereby, enhancing the continuity illusion. Our findings indicate that musical training transfers to spoken language perception via neuroplastic adaptations to auditory-motor networks.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition


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