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Why would Musical Training Benefit the Neural Encoding of Speech? The OPERA Hypothesis  [PDF]
Aniruddh D. Patel
Frontiers in Psychology , 2011, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00142
Abstract: Mounting evidence suggests that musical training benefits the neural encoding of speech. This paper offers a hypothesis specifying why such benefits occur. The “OPERA” hypothesis proposes that such benefits are driven by adaptive plasticity in speech-processing networks, and that this plasticity occurs when five conditions are met. These are: (1) Overlap: there is anatomical overlap in the brain networks that process an acoustic feature used in both music and speech (e.g., waveform periodicity, amplitude envelope), (2) Precision: music places higher demands on these shared networks than does speech, in terms of the precision of processing, (3) Emotion: the musical activities that engage this network elicit strong positive emotion, (4) Repetition: the musical activities that engage this network are frequently repeated, and (5) Attention: the musical activities that engage this network are associated with focused attention. According to the OPERA hypothesis, when these conditions are met neural plasticity drives the networks in question to function with higher precision than needed for ordinary speech communication. Yet since speech shares these networks with music, speech processing benefits. The OPERA hypothesis is used to account for the observed superior subcortical encoding of speech in musically trained individuals, and to suggest mechanisms by which musical training might improve linguistic reading abilities.
Nadia Justel,Verónika Diaz Abrahan
Suma Psicológica , 2012,
Abstract: The main research about the effect of musical training in adult and childhood brain was revised in this work. The music realizes unique demands to our ner-vous system. This call the attention of several researchers causing, in the past years, an enhancement of the exploration about this topic; this increment was benefit for the emergence of new neuroimaging techniques, the music positioned as an investigation tool of human cognition and superior brain mechanisms. The musical perception and production are specific functions of the human brain that depend of a wide cortical-subcortical neural net distributed across both hemi-spheres and cerebellum. The main findings in this area indicated structural and functional differences in the adult and child brain due to musical training, and this is more relevant that innate properties of the subject. There is brain plasticity due to adaptive processes product of the environmental stimulation.
How musical training affects cognitive development: rhythm, reward and other modulating variables.  [PDF]
Ewa A. Miendlarzewska,Wiebke J. Trost
Frontiers in Neuroscience , 2013, DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00279
Abstract: Musical training has recently gained additional interest in education as increasing neuroscientific research demonstrates its positive effects on brain development. Neuroimaging revealed plastic changes in the brains of adult musicians but it is still unclear to what extent they are the product of intensive music training rather than of other factors, such as preexisting biological markers of musicality. In this review, we synthesize a large body of studies demonstrating that benefits of musical training extend beyond the skills it directly aims to train and last well into adulthood. For example, children who undergo musical training have better verbal memory, second language pronunciation accuracy, reading ability and executive functions. Learning to play an instrument as a child may even predict academic performance and IQ in young adulthood. The degree of observed structural and functional adaptation in the brain correlates with intensity and duration of practice. Importantly, the effects on cognitive development depend on the timing of musical initiation due to sensitive periods during development, as well as on several other modulating variables. Notably, we point to motivation, reward and social context of musical education, which are important yet neglected factors affecting the long-term benefits of musical training. Further, we introduce the notion of rhythmic entrainment and suggest that it may represent a mechanism supporting learning and development of executive functions. It also hones temporal processing and orienting of attention in time that may underlie enhancements observed in reading and verbal memory. We conclude that musical training uniquely engenders near and far transfer effects, preparing a foundation for a range of skills, and thus fostering cognitive development.
Audio-Tactile Integration and the Influence of Musical Training  [PDF]
Anja Kuchenbuch, Evangelos Paraskevopoulos, Sibylle C. Herholz, Christo Pantev
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085743
Abstract: Perception of our environment is a multisensory experience; information from different sensory systems like the auditory, visual and tactile is constantly integrated. Complex tasks that require high temporal and spatial precision of multisensory integration put strong demands on the underlying networks but it is largely unknown how task experience shapes multisensory processing. Long-term musical training is an excellent model for brain plasticity because it shapes the human brain at functional and structural levels, affecting a network of brain areas. In the present study we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate how audio-tactile perception is integrated in the human brain and if musicians show enhancement of the corresponding activation compared to non-musicians. Using a paradigm that allowed the investigation of combined and separate auditory and tactile processing, we found a multisensory incongruency response, generated in frontal, cingulate and cerebellar regions, an auditory mismatch response generated mainly in the auditory cortex and a tactile mismatch response generated in frontal and cerebellar regions. The influence of musical training was seen in the audio-tactile as well as in the auditory condition, indicating enhanced higher-order processing in musicians, while the sources of the tactile MMN were not influenced by long-term musical training. Consistent with the predictive coding model, more basic, bottom-up sensory processing was relatively stable and less affected by expertise, whereas areas for top-down models of multisensory expectancies were modulated by training.
Cortical Plasticity Induced by Short-Term Multimodal Musical Rhythm Training  [PDF]
Claudia Lappe, Laurel J. Trainor, Sibylle C. Herholz, Christo Pantev
PLOS ONE , 2011, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021493
Abstract: Performing music is a multimodal experience involving the visual, auditory, and somatosensory modalities as well as the motor system. Therefore, musical training is an excellent model to study multimodal brain plasticity. Indeed, we have previously shown that short-term piano practice increase the magnetoencephalographic (MEG) response to melodic material in novice players. Here we investigate the impact of piano training using a rhythmic-focused exercise on responses to rhythmic musical material. Musical training with non musicians was conducted over a period of two weeks. One group (sensorimotor-auditory, SA) learned to play a piano sequence with a distinct musical rhythm, another group (auditory, A) listened to, and evaluated the rhythmic accuracy of the performances of the SA-group. Training-induced cortical plasticity was evaluated using MEG, comparing the mismatch negativity (MMN) in response to occasional rhythmic deviants in a repeating rhythm pattern before and after training. The SA-group showed a significantly greater enlargement of MMN and P2 to deviants after training compared to the A- group. The training-induced increase of the rhythm MMN was bilaterally expressed in contrast to our previous finding where the MMN for deviants in the pitch domain showed a larger right than left increase. The results indicate that when auditory experience is strictly controlled during training, involvement of the sensorimotor system and perhaps increased attentional recources that are needed in producing rhythms lead to more robust plastic changes in the auditory cortex compared to when rhythms are simply attended to in the auditory domain in the absence of motor production.
The relationship between the age of onset of musical training and rhythm synchronization performance: validation of sensitive period effects  [PDF]
Jennifer A. Bailey,Virginia B. Penhune
Frontiers in Neuroscience , 2013, DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00227
Abstract: A sensitive period associated with musical training has been proposed, suggesting the influence of musical training on the brain and behavior is strongest during the early years of childhood. Experiments from our laboratory have directly tested the sensitive period hypothesis for musical training by comparing musicians who began their training prior to age seven with those who began their training after age seven, while matching the two groups in terms of musical experience (Watanabe et al., 2007; Bailey and Penhune, 2010, 2012). Using this matching paradigm, the early-trained groups have demonstrated enhanced sensorimotor synchronization skills and associated differences in brain structure (Bailey et al., 2013; Steele et al., 2013). The current study takes a different approach to investigating the sensitive period hypothesis for musical training by examining a single large group of unmatched musicians (N = 77) and exploring the relationship between age of onset of musical training as a continuous variable and performance on the Rhythm Synchronization Task (RST), a previously used auditory-motor RST. Interestingly, age of onset was correlated with task performance for those who began training earlier, however, no such relationship was observed among those who began training in their later childhood years. In addition, years of formal training showed a similar pattern. However, individual working memory scores were predictive of task performance, regardless of age of onset of musical training. Overall, these results support the sensitive period hypothesis for musical training and suggest a non-linear relationship between age of onset of musical training and auditory-motor rhythm synchronization abilities, such that a relationship exists early in childhood but then plateaus later on in development, similar to maturational growth trajectories of brain regions implicated in playing music.
Influence of Musical Training on Understanding Voiced and Whispered Speech in Noise  [PDF]
Dorea R. Ruggles, Richard L. Freyman, Andrew J. Oxenham
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086980
Abstract: This study tested the hypothesis that the previously reported advantage of musicians over non-musicians in understanding speech in noise arises from more efficient or robust coding of periodic voiced speech, particularly in fluctuating backgrounds. Speech intelligibility was measured in listeners with extensive musical training, and in those with very little musical training or experience, using normal (voiced) or whispered (unvoiced) grammatically correct nonsense sentences in noise that was spectrally shaped to match the long-term spectrum of the speech, and was either continuous or gated with a 16-Hz square wave. Performance was also measured in clinical speech-in-noise tests and in pitch discrimination. Musicians exhibited enhanced pitch discrimination, as expected. However, no systematic or statistically significant advantage for musicians over non-musicians was found in understanding either voiced or whispered sentences in either continuous or gated noise. Musicians also showed no statistically significant advantage in the clinical speech-in-noise tests. Overall, the results provide no evidence for a significant difference between young adult musicians and non-musicians in their ability to understand speech in noise.
Mubin Md Nor,Kamaruddin Ilias
Academic Research International , 2011,
Abstract: Music education is one of the subjects offered in undergraduate college degree programmes and elective major course at the Teachers’ Training Institute. As a major power in the national policy level to realize the "grass root" in developing one Malaysia for the trainee teachers. Through this musical performance it can be a guide for students to meet the demands of teaching and learning in schools. This study uses questionnaire to obtain data and samples of student teachers in music elective course. The findings help the effectiveness of one Malaysia especially for music teachers to elevate this subject through the contribution in line with the policies and aspirations to build a united Malaysian nation.
Implementing portfolio in postgraduate general practice training. Benefits and recommendations
Fawaz S. Alotaibi
Saudi Medical Journal , 2012,
Abstract: This paper presents a review to explore the literature focusing on portfolio in postgraduate general practice (GP) training, and to examine the impact of implementation of portfolio on learning process, as well as proposing recommendations for its implementation in postgraduate GP training. An electronic search was carried out on several databases for studies addressing portfolio in postgraduate GP training. Six articles were included to address specifically the effectiveness of portfolio in postgraduate GP training. Five of them described successful experiences of portfolio-based learning implementation. Only one article addressed portfolio-based assessment in postgraduate GP training. The existing evidence provides various benefits of professional portfolio-based learning. It does appear to have advantages of stimulating reflective learning, promoting proactive learning, and bridging the hospital experiences of the learners to GP. Moreover, the challenges to implementation of portfolio-based learning are often based on orientation and training of stakeholders.
Enhancement of electron spin lifetime in GaAs crystals: the benefits of dichotomous noise  [PDF]
Stefano Spezia,Dominique Persano Adorno,Nicola Pizzolato,Bernardo Spagnolo
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/104/47011
Abstract: The electron spin relaxation process in n-type GaAs crystals driven by a fluctuating electric field is investigated. Two different sources of fluctuations are considered: (i) a symmetric dichotomous noise and (ii) a Gaussian correlated noise. Monte Carlo numerical simulations show, in both cases, an enhancement of the spin relaxation time by increasing the amplitude of the external noise. Moreover, we find that the electron spin lifetime versus the noise correlation time: (i) increases up to a plateau in the case of dichotomous random fluctuations, and (ii) shows a nonmonotonic behaviour with a maximum in the case of bulks subjected to a Gaussian correlated noise.
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