TitleTemporal processing of audiovisual stimuli is enhanced in musicians: evidence from magnetoencephalography (MEG).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLu, Yao, Paraskevopoulos Evangelos, Herholz Sibylle C., Kuchenbuch Anja, and Pantev Christo
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2014
KeywordsAcoustic Stimulation, Analysis of Variance, Auditory Perception, Brain, Brain Mapping, Case-Control Studies, Female, Germany, Humans, Male, Music, Photic Stimulation, Time Perception, Visual Perception, Young Adult

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the structural and functional differences between professional musicians and non-musicians are not only found within a single modality, but also with regard to multisensory integration. In this study we have combined psychophysical with neurophysiological measurements investigating the processing of non-musical, synchronous or various levels of asynchronous audiovisual events. We hypothesize that long-term multisensory experience alters temporal audiovisual processing already at a non-musical stage. Behaviorally, musicians scored significantly better than non-musicians in judging whether the auditory and visual stimuli were synchronous or asynchronous. At the neural level, the statistical analysis for the audiovisual asynchronous response revealed three clusters of activations including the ACC and the SFG and two bilaterally located activations in IFG and STG in both groups. Musicians, in comparison to the non-musicians, responded to synchronous audiovisual events with enhanced neuronal activity in a broad left posterior temporal region that covers the STG, the insula and the Postcentral Gyrus. Musicians also showed significantly greater activation in the left Cerebellum, when confronted with an audiovisual asynchrony. Taken together, our MEG results form a strong indication that long-term musical training alters the basic audiovisual temporal processing already in an early stage (direct after the auditory N1 wave), while the psychophysical results indicate that musical training may also provide behavioral benefits in the accuracy of the estimates regarding the timing of audiovisual events.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID24595014
PubMed Central IDPMC3940930