TitleAudio-tactile integration and the influence of musical training.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKuchenbuch, Anja, Paraskevopoulos Evangelos, Herholz Sibylle C., and Pantev Christo
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2014
KeywordsAdult, Auditory Perception, Behavior, Brain, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Magnetoencephalography, Male, Music, Pitch Perception, Statistics as Topic, Time Factors, Touch, Young Adult

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.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID24465675
PubMed Central IDPMC3897506