Imaging Melody and Rhythm Processing in Young Children

Neuroreport. 2004 Aug 6;15(11):1723-6. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000136055.77095.f1.


In the adult brain, melody and rhythm processing have been found to show different hemispheric dominance, with the right hemisphere apparently more sensitive to melody and the left hemisphere to rhythm. We used a novel, child-friendly scanning protocol to examine the neural basis of melody and rhythm processing in young children (mean age 6 years 4 months, n=33). FMRI data were acquired using a sparse temporal sampling technique, taking advantage of the natural delay in the cerebrovascular response to neuronal activity. We found that this group of young children showed some differential specialization for melody and rhythm processing, but to a lesser extent than previously reported in adults. These results suggest that hemispheric specialization for musical processing may develop with age.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Music*