Differences in White Matter Architecture Between Musicians and Non-Musicians: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study

Neurosci Lett. 2002 Mar 15;321(1-2):57-60. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(02)00054-x.


Previous studies found structural brain differences between musicians and non-musicians. In order to determine possible differences in white matter architecture, diffusion tensor imaging was performed on five adult subjects with musical training since early childhood, and seven adult controls. The musicians displayed significantly greater fractional anisotropy (FA) in the genu of the corpus callosum, while significantly less FA was found in the corona radiata and the internal capsule bilaterally. Further areas also showed significant differences. We hypothesize that these changes are due to the cognitive and motor effects, respectively, of musical training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Music*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure
  • Physical Fitness / physiology