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Learning piano melodies in visuo-motor or audiomotor training conditions and the neural correlates of their cross-modal transfer

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Engel,  Annerose
Department of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands;
The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
Max Planck Research Group Music Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Bangert,  Marc
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Institute of Musician's Medicine, University of Music Carl Maria von Weber, Dresden, Germany;

Horbank,  David
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

Wilkens,  Katharina
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Keller,  Peter E.
Max Planck Research Group Music Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
The MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, Australia;

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Citation

Engel, A., Bangert, M., Horbank, D., Hijmans, B. S., Wilkens, K., Keller, P. E., et al. (2012). Learning piano melodies in visuo-motor or audiomotor training conditions and the neural correlates of their cross-modal transfer. NeuroImage, 63(2), 966-978. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.03.038.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-4F2D-8
Abstract
To investigate the cross-modal transfer of movement patterns necessary to perform melodies on the piano, 22 non-musicians learned to play short sequences on a piano keyboard by 1) merely listening and replaying (vision of own fingers occluded) or 2) merely observing silent finger movements and replaying (on a silent keyboard). After training, participants recognized with above chance accuracy 1) audio-motor learned sequences upon visual presentation (89 ± 17%), and 2) visuo-motor learned sequences upon auditory presentation (77 ± 22%). The recognition rates for visual presentation significantly exceeded those for auditory presentation (p < .05). fMRI revealed that observing finger movements corresponding to audio-motor trained melodies is associated with stronger activation in the left rolandic operculum than observing untrained sequences. This region was also involved in silent execution of sequences, suggesting that a link to motor representations may play a role in cross-modal transfer from audio-motor training condition to visual recognition. No significant differences in brain activity were found during listening to visuo-motor trained compared to untrained melodies. Cross-modal transfer was stronger from the audio-motor training condition to visual recognition and this is discussed in relation to the fact that non-musicians are familiar with how their finger movements look (motor-to-vision transformation), but not with how they sound on a piano (motor-to-sound transformation).