Navigation Links
Amygdala detects spontaneity in human behavior
Date:5/3/2011

This release is available in German.

A pianist is playing an unknown melody freely without reading from a musical score. How does the listener's brain recognise if this melody is improvised or if it is memorized? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig investigated jazz musicians to discover which brain areas are especially sensitive to features of improvised behaviour. Among these are the amygdala and a network of areas known to be involved in the mental simulation of behaviour. Furthermore, the ability to correctly recognise improvisations was not only related to the musical experience of a listener but also to his ability to take the perspective of someone else.

The ability to discriminate spontaneous from planned (rehearsed) behaviour is important when inferring others' intentions in everyday situations, for example, when judging whether someone's behaviour is calculated and intended to deceive. In order to examine such basic mechanisms of social abilities in controlled settings, Peter Keller, head of the research group "Music Cognition and Action" at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig and his research associate Annerose Engel investigate musical constellations ranging from solos and duos to large musical ensembles. In a recent study, they investigated the brain activity of jazz musicians while these musicians listened to short excerpts of improvised melodies or rehearsed versions of the same melodies. The listeners judged whether each heard melody was improvised.

"Musical improvisations are more variable in their loudness and timing, most likely due to irregularities in force control associated with fluctuations in certainty about upcoming actionsi.e., when spontaneously deciding what to playduring improvised musical performance", explains Peter Keller. The amygdala, part of the limbic system, was more active while listening to real improvisations and was sensitive to the fluctuations of loudness and timing in the melodies. Thus, the amygdala seems to be involved in the detection of spontaneous behaviour, which is consistent with studies showing an involvement of this structure when stimuli are difficult to predict, novel or ambiguous in their meaning.

If a melody was judged as being improvised, regardless of whether this was in fact the case, stronger activity was found in a network which is known to be involved in the covert simulation of actions. This network comprised the frontal operculum, the pre-supplementary area and the anterior insula.

"We know today that during perception of actions, similar brain areas are active as during the execution of the same action", explains Annerose Engel. "This supports the evaluation of other people's behaviour in order to form expectations and predict future behaviour." If a melody is perceived as being more difficult to predict, for example, because of fluctuations in loudness and timing, stronger activity is most likely to be elicited in this specialised network.

A further observation the researchers made may be related to this: Not only musical experience but also the capacity to take someone else's perspective played an important role in judging spontaneity. Jazz musicians who had more musical expertise in playing the piano and playing with other musicians, as well as those who more often described themselves as trying to put themselves in someone else's shoes were best at recognizing whether a melody was improvised or not.


'/>"/>

Contact: Annerose Engel
engela@cbs.mpg.de
49-341-994-02614
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. In Tests, Implanted Monitor Detects Atrial Fibrillation
2. Nanotech breath sensor detects diabetes and potentially serious complication
3. Molecular imaging detects recurrent prostate cancer
4. Eat safer: Novel approach detects unknown food pathogens
5. Color-changing blast badge detects exposure to explosive shock waves
6. Electronic nose detects cancer
7. MEMS thermal sensor detects pre-atherosclerotic lesions
8. Simple blood test detects early emphysema in smokers before symptoms appear
9. In pilot study, screening detects potentially serious heart conditions in healthy children
10. New test detects early-stage, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer
11. Protein test detects early-stage, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Amygdala detects spontaneity in human behavior
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... Recognising that in ... from Leany Greeny delivers positive results in just three weeks. Setting the groundwork ... the metabolism. Fitting seamlessly into hectic work and family schedules, participants can lose ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... ... “Finn Mouseson”: follows the exciting story of a mouse as the need for adventure ... journey that will show that friends are to be gathered but home is always ... Melody Gersonde-Mickelson, who has earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... 2017 , ... “Psalms of Humidity”: is a fascinating depiction of daily struggles ... one step closer to God. “Psalms of Humidity” is the creation of published author, ... made within his life are the very same things that have shaped him into ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... “They Sang At Her Funeral”: a tale of murder ... the skeletons in their closets. “They Sang At Her Funeral” is the creation of ... and married with five children and twelve grandchildren. Before becoming a writer, Annalise had ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... Only a few physicians were ... Brevard’s own Ross A. Clevens, MD, FACS . The founder and medical director ... and Reconstructive Surgeon who trained at Yale, Harvard and the University of Michigan. He ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/13/2017)... 2017   OrthoAtlanta has been named the official ... Committee (AFHC) for the 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP) National ... Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia . OrthoAtlanta ... In" campaign, participating in many activities leading up to, and ... ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... 2017  ValGenesis Inc., the global leader in ... to announce the appointment of Dr. Ajaz ... of Directors and Chairman of Advisory Board beginning ... companies to manage their entire validation lifecycle process ... this process. Furthermore, ValGenesis VLMS enables rigorous compliance, ...
(Date:9/9/2017)... -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ) ... lasmiditan, an investigational, oral, first-in-class molecule for the acute ... to placebo in the Phase 3 SPARTAN study. Detailed ... of the International Headache Society (IHC) in ... demonstrate lasmiditan,s potential to reduce pain and provide freedom ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: