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Getting an expected award music to the brain's ears
Date:9/25/2013

a number on a screen and had to press a button to indicate whether the number was greater or smaller than 5. If the sound before indicated that they could receive a reward and they solved the number task quickly and correctly, an image of a 50 Euro cents coin appeared on the screen. The researchers monitored brain activity in the subjects' auditory cortex throughout the task, paying special attention to what happened when they received the reward, or not, at the end of the round.

Results

The study authors found that when the volunteers were expecting and finally received a reward, then their auditory cortex was activated. Similarly, there was an increase in brain activity in this area when the subjects weren't expecting a reward and didn't get one. There was no additional activity when they were expecting a reward and didn't get one.

Importance of the Findings

These findings add to accumulating evidence that the auditory cortex performs a role beyond just processing sound. Rather, this area of the brain appears to be activated during other activities that require learning and thought, such as confirming expectations of receiving a reward.

"Our findings thus support the view of a highly cognitive role of the auditory cortex," the study authors say.

Study Team

In addition to Tina Weis, the study team also includes Andre Brechmann of the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, and Sebastian Puschmann and Christiane M. Thiel of Carl-von-Ossietzky University.


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Contact: Donna Krupa
dkrupa@the-aps.org
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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