The neural architecture of music-evoked autobiographical memories.
ABSTRACT: The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is regarded as a region of the brain that supports self-referential processes, including the integration of sensory information with self-knowledge and the retrieval of autobiographical information. I used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a novel procedure for eliciting autobiographical memories with excerpts of popular music dating to one's extended childhood to test the hypothesis that music and autobiographical memories are integrated in the MPFC. Dorsal regions of the MPFC (Brodmann area 8/9) were shown to respond parametrically to the degree of autobiographical salience experienced over the course of individual 30 s excerpts. Moreover, the dorsal MPFC also responded on a second, faster timescale corresponding to the signature movements of the musical excerpts through tonal space. These results suggest that the dorsal MPFC associates music and memories when we experience emotionally salient episodic memories that are triggered by familiar songs from our personal past. MPFC acted in concert with lateral prefrontal and posterior cortices both in terms of tonality tracking and overall responsiveness to familiar and autobiographically salient songs. These findings extend the results of previous autobiographical memory research by demonstrating the spontaneous activation of an autobiographical memory network in a naturalistic task with low retrieval demands.
Project description:Previous neuroimaging studies that have examined autobiographical memory specificity have utilized retrieval cues associated with prior searches of the event, potentially changing the retrieval processes being investigated. In the current study, musical cues were used to naturally elicit memories from multiple levels of specificity (i.e., lifetime period, general event, and event-specific). Sixteen young adults participated in a neuroimaging study in which they retrieved autobiographical memories associated with musical cues. These musical cues led to the retrieval of highly emotional memories that had low levels of prior retrieval. Retrieval of all autobiographical memory levels was associated with activity in regions in the autobiographical memory network, specifically the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, and right medial temporal lobe. Owing to the use of music, memories from varying levels of specificity were retrieved, allowing for comparison of event memory and abstract personal knowledge, as well as comparison of specific and general event memory. Dorsolateral and dorsomedial prefrontal regions were engaged during event retrieval relative to personal knowledge retrieval, and retrieval of specific event memories was associated with increased activity in the bilateral medial temporal lobe and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex relative to retrieval of general event memories. These results suggest that the initial search processes for memories of different specificity levels preferentially engage different components of the autobiographical memory network. The potential underlying causes of these neural differences are discussed.
Project description:Context-dependent memories may guide adaptive behavior relaying in previous experience while updating stored information through reconsolidation. Retrieval can be triggered by partial and shared cues. When the cue is presented, the most relevant memory should be updated. In a contextual version of the object recognition task, we examined the effect of medial PFC (mPFC) serotonin 2a receptor (5-HT2aR) blockade during retrieval in reconsolidation of competing objects memories. We found that mPFC 5-HT2aR controls retrieval and reconsolidation of object memories in the perirhinal cortex (PRH), but not in the dorsal hippocampus in rats. Also, reconsolidation of objects memories in PRH required a functional interaction between the ventral hippocampus and the mPFC. Our results indicate that in the presence of conflicting information at retrieval, mPFC 5-HT2aR may facilitate top-down context-guided control over PRH to control the behavioral response and object memory reconsolidation.
Project description:Personal identity critically depends on the creation of stories about the self and one's life. The present study investigates the neural substrates of autobiographical reasoning, a process central to the construction of such narratives. During functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning, participants approached a set of personally significant memories in two different ways: in some trials, they remembered the concrete content of the events (autobiographical remembering), whereas in other trials they reflected on the broader meaning and implications of their memories (autobiographical reasoning). Relative to remembering, autobiographical reasoning recruited a left-lateralized network involved in conceptual processing [including the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), inferior frontal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus and angular gyrus]. The ventral MPFC--an area that may function to generate personal/affective meaning--was not consistently engaged during autobiographical reasoning across participants but, interestingly, the activity of this region was modulated by individual differences in interest and willingness to engage in self-reflection. These findings support the notion that autobiographical reasoning and the construction of personal narratives go beyond mere remembering in that they require deriving meaning and value from past experiences.
Project description:AIMS:This study is based on two experiments, the first, with an exploratory character. The aim of which is to assess the capacity of native vs international pop songs (NAT vs INT) from two consecutive life stages, Reminiscence bump (RB) and the immediately subsequent period (No reminiscence bump, NORB) to elicit positive emotions and autobiographical memories. METHOD:A total of 15 middle-aged adults and 15 older adults participated in Experiment 1 (E1). Emotionality, song familiarity and associated autobiographical memories were assessed. Each participant was exposed to 20 randomly selected age-specific songs. Pre-and post-test measures of mood state were also included. Experiment 2 (E2) focused on late adulthood, using a sample of 35 persons. The experimental design was similar to that used in E1. However, this second experiment also included an analysis of the types of autobiographical memories generated by the experimental task and a study of their relationship with the characteristics of the songs, their familiarity and the emotions they produced, and the number of trials. The aim was to delve into the effects that influence the effectiveness of the induction procedure, particularly as regards emotional positivity and memory specificity. RESULTS:Regarding age effect, E1 results varied: under some conditions, emotionality showed no difference between groups, others showed positive older adult bias. In E2, the analysis of the relationships between memory types and the selected variables suggests the latter are not useful predictors of differences between memory types. The study design yielded a relatively high level of memory specificity and emotional positivity. CONCLUSION:The findings question positivity bias in the elderly. RB music produces different effects depending on age. Enculturation can be an important mediating factor in emotionality and memory. Finally, experimental design improves specific memory and positivity.
Project description:The story of our lifetime - our narrative self - is constructed from our autobiographical memories. A central claim of social psychology is that this narrative self is inherently social: When we construct our lives, we do so in a real or imagined interaction. This predicts that self-referential processes which are involved in recall of autobiographical memories overlap with processes involved in social interactions. Indeed, previous functional MRI studies indicate that regions in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are activated during autobiographical memory recall and virtual communication. However, no fMRI study has investigated recall of autobiographical memories in a real-life interaction. We developed a novel paradigm in which participants overtly reported self-related and other-related memories to an experimenter, whose non-verbal reactions were being filmed and online displayed to the participants in the scanner. We found that recall of autobiographical vs. non-autobiographical memories was associated with activation of the mPFC, as was recall in the social as compared to a non-social control condition; however, both contrasts involved different non-overlapping regions within the mPFC. These results indicate that self-referential processes involved in autobiographical memory recall are different from processes supporting social interactions, and argue against the hypothesis that autobiographical memories are inherently social.
Project description:Presentation of drug-associated cues provokes craving and drug seeking, and elimination of these associative memories would facilitate recovery from addiction. Emotionally salient memories are maintained during retrieval, as particular pharmacologic or optogenetic perturbations of memory circuits during retrieval, but not after, can induce long-lasting memory impairments. For example, in rats, inhibition of noradrenergic beta-receptors, which control intrinsic neuronal excitability, in the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex (PL-mPFC) can cause long-term memory impairments that prevent subsequent cocaine-induced reinstatement. The physiologic mechanisms that allow noradrenergic signaling to maintain drug-associated memories during retrieval, however, are unclear. Here we combine patch-clamp electrophysiology ex vivo and behavioral neuropharmacology in vivo to evaluate the mechanisms that maintain drug-associated memory during retrieval in rats. Consistent with previous studies, we find that cocaine experience increases the intrinsic excitability of pyramidal neurons in PL-mPFC. In addition, we now find that this intrinsic plasticity positively predicts the retrieval of a cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) memory, suggesting that such plasticity may contribute to drug-associated memory retrieval. In further support of this, we find that pharmacological blockade of a cAMP-dependent signaling cascade, which allows noradrenergic signaling to elevate neuronal excitability, is required for memory maintenance during retrieval. Thus, inhibition of PL-mPFC neuronal excitability during memory retrieval not only leads to long-term deficits in the memory, but this memory deficit provides protection against subsequent cocaine-induced reinstatement. These data reveal that PL-mPFC intrinsic neuronal excitability maintains a cocaine-associated memory during retrieval and suggest a unique mechanism whereby drug-associated memories could be targeted for elimination.
Project description:Rhythmic movement to music, whether deliberate (e.g., dancing) or inadvertent (e.g., foot-tapping), is ubiquitous. Although parents commonly report that infants move rhythmically to music, especially to familiar music in familiar environments, there has been little systematic study of this behavior. As a preliminary exploration of infants' movement to music in their home environment, we studied V, an infant who began moving rhythmically to music at 6 months of age. Our primary goal was to generate testable hypotheses about movement to music in infancy. Across nine sessions, beginning when V was almost 19 months of age and ending 8 weeks later, she was video-recorded by her mother during the presentation of 60-s excerpts from two familiar and two unfamiliar songs presented at three tempos-the original song tempo as well as faster and slower versions. V exhibited a number of repeated dance movements such as head-bobbing, arm-pumping, torso twists, and bouncing. She danced most to Metallica's Now that We're Dead, a recording that her father played daily in V's presence, often dancing with her while it played. Its high pulse clarity, in conjunction with familiarity, may have increased V's propensity to dance, as reflected in lesser dancing to familiar music with low pulse clarity and to unfamiliar music with high pulse clarity. V moved faster to faster music but only for unfamiliar music, perhaps because arousal drove her movement to familiar music. Her movement to music was positively correlated with smiling, highlighting the pleasurable nature of the experience. Rhythmic movement to music may have enhanced her pleasure, and the joy of listening may have promoted her movement. On the basis of behavior observed in this case study, we propose a scaled-up study to obtain definitive evidence about the effects of song familiarity and specific musical features on infant rhythmic movement, the developmental trajectory of dance skills, and the typical range of variation in such skills.
Project description:Humans use music for a variety of social functions: we sing to accompany dance, to soothe babies, to heal illness, to communicate love, and so on. Across animal taxa, vocalization forms are shaped by their functions, including in humans. Here, we show that vocal music exhibits recurrent, distinct, and cross-culturally robust form-function relations that are detectable by listeners across the globe. In Experiment 1, internet users (n = 750) in 60 countries listened to brief excerpts of songs, rating each song's function on six dimensions (e.g., "used to soothe a baby"). Excerpts were drawn from a geographically stratified pseudorandom sample of dance songs, lullabies, healing songs, and love songs recorded in 86 mostly small-scale societies, including hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and subsistence farmers. Experiment 1 and its analysis plan were pre-registered. Despite participants' unfamiliarity with the societies represented, the random sampling of each excerpt, their very short duration (14 s), and the enormous diversity of this music, the ratings demonstrated accurate and cross-culturally reliable inferences about song functions on the basis of song forms alone. In Experiment 2, internet users (n = 1,000) in the United States and India rated three contextual features (e.g., gender of singer) and seven musical features (e.g., melodic complexity) of each excerpt. The songs' contextual features were predictive of Experiment 1 function ratings, but musical features and the songs' actual functions explained unique variance in function ratings. These findings are consistent with the existence of universal links between form and function in vocal music.
Project description:Familiarity in music has been reported as an important factor modulating emotional and hedonic responses in the brain. Familiarity and repetition may increase the liking of a piece of music, thus inducing positive emotions. Neuroimaging studies have focused on identifying the brain regions involved in the processing of familiar and unfamiliar musical stimuli. However, the use of different modalities and experimental designs has led to discrepant results and it is not clear which areas of the brain are most reliably engaged when listening to familiar and unfamiliar musical excerpts. In the present study, we conducted a systematic review from three databases (Medline, PsychoINFO, and Embase) using the keywords (recognition OR familiar OR familiarity OR exposure effect OR repetition) AND (music OR song) AND (brain OR brains OR neuroimaging OR functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging OR Position Emission Tomography OR Electroencephalography OR Event Related Potential OR Magnetoencephalography). Of the 704 titles identified, 23 neuroimaging studies met our inclusion criteria for the systematic review. After removing studies providing insufficient information or contrasts, 11 studies (involving 212 participants) qualified for the meta-analysis using the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) approach. Our results did not find significant peak activations consistently across included studies. Using a less conservative approach (p < 0.001, uncorrected for multiple comparisons) we found that the left superior frontal gyrus, the ventral lateral (VL) nucleus of the left thalamus, and the left medial surface of the superior frontal gyrus had the highest likelihood of being activated by familiar music. On the other hand, the left insula, and the right anterior cingulate cortex had the highest likelihood of being activated by unfamiliar music. We had expected limbic structures as top clusters when listening to familiar music. But, instead, music familiarity had a motor pattern of activation. This could reflect an audio-motor synchronization to the rhythm which is more engaging for familiar tunes, and/or a sing-along response in one's mind, anticipating melodic, harmonic progressions, rhythms, timbres, and lyric events in the familiar songs. These data provide evidence for the need for larger neuroimaging studies to understand the neural correlates of music familiarity.
Project description:The historically developed practice of learning to play a music instrument from notes instead of by imitation or improvisation makes it possible to contrast two types of skilled musicians characterized not only by dissimilar performance practices, but also disparate methods of audiomotor learning. In a recent fMRI study comparing these two groups of musicians while they either imagined playing along with a recording or covertly assessed the quality of the performance, we observed activation of a right-hemisphere network of posterior superior parietal and dorsal premotor cortices in improvising musicians, indicating more efficient audiomotor transformation. In the present study, we investigated the detailed performance characteristics underlying the ability of both groups of musicians to replicate music on the basis of aural perception alone. Twenty-two classically-trained improvising and score-dependent musicians listened to short, unfamiliar two-part excerpts presented with headphones. They played along or replicated the excerpts by ear on a digital piano, either with or without aural feedback. In addition, they were asked to harmonize or transpose some of the excerpts either to a different key or to the relative minor. MIDI recordings of their performances were compared with recordings of the aural model. Concordance was expressed in an audiomotor alignment score computed with the help of music information retrieval algorithms. Significantly higher alignment scores were found when contrasting groups, voices, and tasks. The present study demonstrates the superior ability of improvising musicians to replicate both the pitch and rhythm of aurally perceived music at the keyboard, not only in the original key, but also in other tonalities. Taken together with the enhanced activation of the right dorsal frontoparietal network found in our previous fMRI study, these results underscore the conclusion that the practice of improvising music can be associated with enhanced audiomotor transformation in response to aurally perceived music.