Activation of premotor vocal areas during musical discrimination

Brain Cogn. 2007 Feb;63(1):59-69. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2006.08.006. Epub 2006 Oct 5.


Two same/different discrimination tasks were performed by amateur-musician subjects in this functional magnetic resonance imaging study: Melody Discrimination and Harmony Discrimination. Both tasks led to activations not only in classic working memory areas--such as the cingulate gyrus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex--but in a series of premotor areas involved in vocal-motor planning and production, namely the somatotopic mouth region of the primary and lateral premotor cortices, Broca's area, the supplementary motor area, and the anterior insula. A perceptual control task involving passive listening alone to monophonic melodies led to activations exclusively in temporal-lobe auditory areas. These results show that, compared to passive listening tasks, discrimination tasks elicit activation in vocal-motor planning areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology
  • Intention
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological / physiology*
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*
  • Reference Values