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Poster E16

Neuroelectric Correlates of Autobiographically Salient Music Listening

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

Veronica Vuong1,2 (, Michael Thaut1, Claude Alain1,2; 1University of Toronto, 2Baycrest Health Sciences

Autobiographically salient (ABS) music, associated to one’s past, (i.e., people, locations, and events), is posited to engage memory processes more efficiently than familiar (FAM) music. We tested this hypothesis by having older adults (n = 37, 70.4 ± 5.8 yrs, 18 F) listen to ABS, FAM, unfamiliar (UFAM) music in two separate experiments, accounting for associated changes in neural activity. In Experiment 1, we aimed to determine the time older adults needed to correctly identify ABS, FAM, and UFAM clips that were 10-s long. Participants were quickest in identifying ABS music (2.07 ± 0.08 s), intermediate for FAM (2.91 ± 1.32 s), and slowest for UFAM music (3.89 ± 1.71 s), indicating faster recollection for ABS music than FAM and UFAM music. This experiment shows that 5-s segments are more than sufficient to study musical memory in older adults. In Experiment 2, we measured scalp recordings of event-related potentials while participants listened to 5-s clips. All music conditions generated transient evoked responses at the onset. The contrast between FAM and UFAM and ABS and FAM music revealed greater positivity over the left parietal scalp region between 598 ms-1523 ms and 883 ms-1172 ms, respectively. These results suggest that recognizing ABS music associated with the past may engage recollection of episodic details in addition to familiarity. Together, the experimental findings indicate that ABS music is associated with faster identification and stronger memory-related activity that encompasses familiarity in a dynamic continuum.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


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