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:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse ... Market. Featuring a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, ... quality-focused health and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Abilene, Texas (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... publication this week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books ... seems like cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published ... all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 ... characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( ... announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. ... you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/5/2017)... Oct. 5, 2017  In response to the ... and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) released prescribing recommendations that ... be used as a first-line therapy to manage ... Recognizing the value and ... Paper "Opioid Prescribing: Acute and Postoperative Pain Management" ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  Eli Lilly and Company ... results for the third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, ... call on that day with the investment community and ... The conference call will begin at 9 a.m. ... access a live webcast of the conference call through ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Early Signal ... wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring of patients ... a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health solutions for ... analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, cognitive, physiological ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: