The Gray Matter Volume of the Amygdala Is Correlated with the Perception of Melodic Intervals: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study
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SourcePLoS One, 9, 6, (2014), pp. 1-7, article e99889
Article / Letter to editor
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Spectroscopy of Solids and Interfaces
Orthodontics and Oral Biology
Music is not simply a series of organized pitches, rhythms, and timbres, it is capable of evoking emotions. In the present study, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was employed to explore the neural basis that may link music to emotion. To do this, we identified the neuroanatomical correlates of the ability to extract pitch interval size in a music segment (i.e., interval perception) in a large population of healthy young adults (N = 264). Behaviorally, we found that interval perception was correlated with daily emotional experiences, indicating the intrinsic link between music and emotion. Neurally, and as expected, we found that interval perception was positively correlated with the gray matter volume (GMV) of the bilateral temporal cortex. More important, a larger GMV of the bilateral amygdala was associated with better interval perception, suggesting that the amygdala, which is the neural substrate of emotional processing, is also involved in music processing. In sum, our study provides one of first neuroanatomical evidence on the association between the amygdala and music, which contributes to our understanding of exactly how music evokes emotional responses.
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