Humans can mentally represent auditory information without an external stimulus, but the specificity of these internal representations remains unclear. Here, we asked how similar the temporally unfolding neural representations of imagined music are compared to those during the original perceived experience. We also tested whether rhythmic motion can influence the neural representation of music during imagery as during perception. Participants first memorized six 1-min-long instrumental musical pieces with high accuracy. Functional MRI data were collected during: 1) silent imagery of melodies to the beat of a visual metronome; 2) same but while tapping to the beat; and 3) passive listening. During imagery, inter-subject correlation analysis showed that melody-specific temporal response patterns were reinstated in right associative auditory cortices. When tapping accompanied imagery, the melody-specific neural patterns were reinstated in more extensive temporal-lobe regions bilaterally. These results indicate that the specific contents of conscious experience are encoded similarly during imagery and perception in the dynamic activity of auditory cortices. Furthermore, rhythmic motion can enhance the reinstatement of neural patterns associated with the experience of complex sounds, in keeping with models of motor to sensory influences in auditory processing.
Full text attached
Regev, Mor; Halpern, Andrea; Owen, Adrian; Patel, Aniruddh; and Zatorre, Robert J.. "Mapping Specific Mental Content During Musical Imagery." (2021) : 3622-3640.
Available for download on Wednesday, August 31, 2022