Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wave Of Brain Activity Linked To Anticipation Captured

Date:
March 4, 2009
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
Neuroscientists have, for the first time, shown what brain activity looks like when someone anticipates an action or sensory input which soon follows. They say this neural clairvoyance involves strong activity in areas of the brain responsible for preparing the body to move.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a group of student volunteers who brought with them favorite music CDs, scientists examined brain images during the silence between songs, and found it brimming with activity.
Credit: Image courtesy of Georgetown University Medical Center

Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have, for the first time, shown what brain activity looks like when someone anticipates an action or sensory input which soon follows.

In the February 25 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, they say this neural clairvoyance involves strong activity in areas of the brain responsible for preparing the body to move.

The findings were made by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a group of student volunteers who brought with them favorite music CDs. The scientists examined brain images during the silence between songs, and found it brimming with activity. Other students who listened to music they had never heard in sequence before did not have that same neural bustle.

“This now explains how it is that, even before an anticipated song is actually heard, a person can start to tap fingers, dance, or sing to the music they imagine is coming next,” says Josef Rauschecker, PhD, director of the Program in Cognitive and Computational Sciences (PICCS), at Georgetown University Medical Center.

While it makes sense that song sequences can be memorized and thus anticipated by a listener, no one before has ever documented the brain activity that is underway in the silence between songs, he says.

“The brain is all about anticipation and prediction, yet no one has shown what that looks like in terms of neural action,” says Rauschecker.

He adds that this same process, known as cued associative learning, likely occurs whenever a human is expecting any particular action to happen, be it in sports, music, or language.

“It is how a skier is mentally prepared to go down a familiar course during the Olympics, or how a piano player knows to move fingers along the keyboard to hit the next correct key,” Rauschecker says.

This sounds simple, but it isn’t, he says. “It is not trivial to store a temporal sequence in the brain, because the brain doesn’t have any moving parts like a tape recorder or CD player. The whole brain needs to be involved because it has to be ready to execute that sequence. “

In the students who knew the order of songs on their CD, the researchers found that during the anticipatory silence between the songs excitatory signals passed from the prefrontal cortex to the nearby premotor cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the brain’s “executive” center, which plans and orchestrates complex cognitive behaviors. The premotor cortex and its associated systems, which include the basal ganglia and the cerebellum, is involved in preparing the body to act – perhaps to move or to sing.

“These structures are involved in both thinking and acting, and it appears that music patterns are being stored and learned here,” Rauschecker says.

“We hadn’t anticipated that,” he adds with a laugh. “We didn’t know the premotor areas would be involved.”

All animals have some ability to cognitively predict motor activity, he says. “That’s why a bird can sing. But humans are the most associative of animals, which is why we have such a large prefrontal cortex. We have a lot of sequences that we need to store in order to predict what we should do.”

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Study collaborators include first author Amber Leaver, MS, Jennifer Van Lare, BS, Brandon Zielinski, PhD, and Andrea Halpern, PhD.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amber M. Leaver, Jennifer Van Lare, Brandon Zielinski, Andrea R. Halpern, and Josef P. Rauschecker. Brain Activation during Anticipation of Sound Sequences. Journal of Neuroscience, 2009; 29 (8): 2477 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4921-08.2009

Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Wave Of Brain Activity Linked To Anticipation Captured." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226093429.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2009, March 4). Wave Of Brain Activity Linked To Anticipation Captured. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226093429.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Wave Of Brain Activity Linked To Anticipation Captured." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226093429.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins