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Title: An investigation into the interaction between music and language processing : evidence from EEG and behavioural data
Author: Carrus, Elisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 4757
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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Music and language are both regulated by a syntactic system that allows for the combination of single elements into higher order structures. Patel (2003) suggested that music and language processing share (neural) resources used for structural processing. Previous electrophysiological studies (e.q., Koelsch et al., 2005) investigating music-language interactions have relied exclusively on the event- related-potential (ERP), which does not provide information regarding neural oscillations that are relevant for higher cognition. Further, possible interactions with pitch and melody have not been investigated, yet melody contains multiple structured relationships between individual tones. The present research aims to fill these gaps in the literature with special emphasis on melodic processing and on neural oscillations. In all experiments (two EEG and three behavioural) sentences with or without a violation in the last word were visually presented in synch with aurally presented music with or without a (harmonic or melodic) violation in the final note. The first EEG experiment investigated patterns of brain oscillations reporting evidence of a shared activation of the delta-theta band. Next, three behavioural experiments investigated the effect of melodic violations on the processing of language. Melodic violations were constructed by a computational model of pitch expectation (Pearce, 2005), which systematically estimates the conditional probability of final notes in a melody: high and low probability notes are perceived as expected and unexpected notes, respectively. In all three experiments participants showed facilitation for processing of incorrect sentences as reflected in a reduced language expectancy effect (faster processing for correct than for incorrect sentences) when sentences were presented on unexpected than on expected notes; this effect was .increasingly suppressed with working memory load. Finally, the second EEG experiment complemented previously reported interactions in the ERP and oscillatory domains by investigating interactions with melody. In conclusion, these studies show that a system of shared networks is activated during processing of music and language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available