Evoked Potential P300 in Metrical Cognition - A Pilot Study
Facta Universitatis, Series Linguistics and Literature, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 29-45
17 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 7, 2010
In this study we conducted ERP measurement of the P300 evoked potential in three separate tasks. Five musicians and five nonmusicians listened to sequences in which a series of short tones of the same frequency was occasionally interrupted by an octave higher tone. In the first task, with the tempo of one tone in two seconds, the participants counted the higher tones; in the second task, they repeated the procedure, where the only difference was the slower tempo - one tone in three seconds; in the third task, the tempo was significantly faster - four tones in a second, and the participants were asked to ignore pitch changes and internally sequence a 4/4 beat and preserve this patterning until the end of the stimulus (about 4 minutes). Results suggest increased P300 latencies in the second and the third task, especially in the nondominant and dominant temporal areas, respectively. In the third task, P300 and P600 were recorded in all musicians, but in none of the nonmusicians. In addition to the conspicuous difference between musicians and nonmusicians, this suggests that simultaneous perception of a number of factors prolongs EP latencies, which may provide some neurophysiological grounds for constraint-based theories in the cognitive sciences of language and music, such as Optimality Theory. Additionally, pronounced excitation of the left temporal lobe may reveal some common neurological resources for metrical tasks in language and music.
Keywords: ERP, P300, meter, language, music
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