Persistent patterns of brain activity: an EEG coherence study of the positive effect of music on spatial-temporal reasoning

Neurol Res. 1997 Apr;19(2):107-16. doi: 10.1080/01616412.1997.11740782.


Motivated by predictions from the structured trion model of the cortex, behavioral experiments have demonstrated a causal short-term enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning in college students following exposure to a Mozart sonata, but not in control conditions. The coherence analysis of electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings is well suited to the neurophysiological investigation of this behavioral enhancement. Here we report the presence of right frontal and left temporo-parietal coherent activity induced by listening to Mozart which carried over into the spatial-temporal tasks in three of our seven subjects. This carry-over effect was compared to EEG coherence analysis of spatial-temporal-tasks after listening to text. We suggest that these EEG coherence results provide the beginnings of understanding of the neurophysiological basis of the causal enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning by listening to specific music. The observed long-lasting coherent EEG pattern might be evidence for structured sequences in cortical dynamics which extend over minutes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Thinking / physiology*
  • Time Perception* / physiology*