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Poster E101

Testing Effects of Theta-Band Amplitude Modulation on Attention and Working Memory

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

Jakob Laats1 (, Psyche Loui1; 1Northeastern University

Musical sounds contain modulations in amplitude and frequency. The human brain’s ability to interpret music depends on neuronal oscillations in multiple frequency ranges including the theta-band (4-8 Hz), which underlies cognition and behavior. We tested whether modulating theta-band amplitude of music could affect brain activity in fMRI during a working memory task and a sustained attention task. Amplitude modulation was applied to each of 32 familiar song stimuli by varying the amplitude of the song's volume at a frequency within the theta-band that is an integer multiple of the song's tempo in Hertz. Participants completed the SART attention task and the n-back working memory task while listening to modulated and unmodulated music (counterbalanced), either online or in-person looking at brain activity with fMRI. In a second-level analysis of the first 12 fMRI subjects, increased brain activity is observed for the modulated>unmodulated contrast in bilateral superior temporal gyri and left insula for the SART, and in the supplementary motor area and dorsal and ventral striatum for the n-back task. These areas correspond to the auditory network, the reward system, and systems involved in rhythm perception. As music stimulates multiple areas of the brain, and theta-band activity in the brain is associated with cognitive functions including attention and working memory, applying these amplitude modulations to music may be useful as subtle forms of brain stimulation that may in turn impact how music can change cognition and behavior.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition


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April 13–16  |  2024