Publications by authors named "E Brattico"

103 Publications

Musicianship and melodic predictability enhance neural gain in auditory cortex during pitch deviance detection.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Aug 30. Epub 2021 Aug 30.

Center for Music in the Brain, Aarhus University & Royal Academy of Music Aarhus/Aalborg, Aarhus, Denmark.

When listening to music, pitch deviations are more salient and elicit stronger prediction error responses when the melodic context is predictable and when the listener is a musician. Yet, the neuronal dynamics and changes in connectivity underlying such effects remain unclear. Here, we employed dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to investigate whether the magnetic mismatch negativity response (MMNm)-and its modulation by context predictability and musical expertise-are associated with enhanced neural gain of auditory areas, as a plausible mechanism for encoding precision-weighted prediction errors. Using Bayesian model comparison, we asked whether models with intrinsic connections within primary auditory cortex (A1) and superior temporal gyrus (STG)-typically related to gain control-or extrinsic connections between A1 and STG-typically related to propagation of prediction and error signals-better explained magnetoencephalography responses. We found that, compared to regular sounds, out-of-tune pitch deviations were associated with lower intrinsic (inhibitory) connectivity in A1 and STG, and lower backward (inhibitory) connectivity from STG to A1, consistent with disinhibition and enhanced neural gain in these auditory areas. More predictable melodies were associated with disinhibition in right A1, while musicianship was associated with disinhibition in left A1 and reduced connectivity from STG to left A1. These results indicate that musicianship and melodic predictability, as well as pitch deviations themselves, enhance neural gain in auditory cortex during deviance detection. Our findings are consistent with predictive processing theories suggesting that precise and informative error signals are selected by the brain for subsequent hierarchical processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25638DOI Listing
August 2021

Applying Spike-density component analysis for high-accuracy auditory event-related potentials in children.

Clin Neurophysiol 2021 Aug 29;132(8):1887-1896. Epub 2021 May 29.

Center for Music in the Brain, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University and Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg, Universitetsbyen 3, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark; Department of Education, Psychology, Communication, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy.

Objective: Overlapping neurophysiological signals are the main obstacle preventing from using cortical auditory event-related potentials (AEPs) in clinical settings. Children AEPs are particularly affected by this problem, as their cerebral cortex is still maturing. To overcome this problem, we applied a new version of Spike-density Component Analysis (SCA), an analysis method recently developed, to isolate with high accuracy the neural components of auditory responses of 8-year-old children.

Methods: Electroencephalography was used with 33 children to record AEPs to auditory stimuli varying in spectrotemporal features. Three different analysis approaches were adopted: the standard AEP analysis procedure, SCA with template-match (SCA-TM), and SCA with half-split average consistency (SCA-HSAC).

Results: SCA-HSAC most successfully allowed the extraction of AEPs for each child, revealing that the most consistent components were P1 and N2. An immature N1 component was also detected.

Conclusion: Superior accuracy in isolating neural components at the individual level was demonstrated for SCA-HSAC over other SCA approaches even for children AEPs.

Significance: Reliable methods of extraction of neurophysiological signals at the individual level are crucial for the application of cortical AEPs for routine diagnostic exams in clinical settings both in children and adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2021.05.007DOI Listing
August 2021

Listeners with congenital amusia are sensitive to context uncertainty in melodic sequences.

Neuropsychologia 2021 07 6;158:107911. Epub 2021 Jun 6.

Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, CNRS, UMR5292; INSERM, U1028, Lyon, F-69000, France; University Lyon 1, Lyon, F-69000, France.

In typical listeners, the perceptual salience of a surprising auditory event depends on the uncertainty of its context. For example, in melodies, pitch deviants are more easily detected and generate larger neural responses when the context is highly predictable than when it is less so. However, it is not known whether amusic listeners with abnormal pitch processing are sensitive to the degree of uncertainty of pitch sequences and, if so, whether they are to a different extent than typical non-musician listeners. To answer this question, we manipulated the uncertainty of short melodies while participants with and without congenital amusia underwent EEG recordings in a passive listening task. Uncertainty was manipulated by presenting melodies with different levels of complexity and familiarity, under the assumption that simpler and more familiar patterns would enhance pitch predictability. We recorded mismatch negativity (MMN) responses to pitch, intensity, timbre, location, and rhythm deviants as a measure of auditory surprise. In both participant groups, we observed reduced MMN amplitudes and longer peak latencies for all sound features with increasing levels of complexity, and putative familiarity effects only for intensity deviants. No significant group-by-complexity or group-by-familiarity interactions were detected. However, in contrast to previous studies, pitch MMN responses in amusics were disrupted in high complexity and unfamiliar melodies. The present results thus indicate that amusics are sensitive to the uncertainty of melodic sequences and that preattentive auditory change detection is greatly spared in this population across sound features and levels of predictability. However, our findings also hint at pitch-specific impairments in this population when uncertainty is high, thus suggesting that pitch processing under high uncertainty conditions requires an intact frontotemporal loop.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107911DOI Listing
July 2021

Brain predictive coding processes are associated to COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism.

Neuroimage 2021 06 11;233:117954. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Center for Music in the Brain, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University & The Royal Academy of Music Aarhus/Aalborg, Denmark; Department of Education, Psychology, Communication, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy.

Predicting events in the ever-changing environment is a fundamental survival function intrinsic to the physiology of sensory systems, whose efficiency varies among the population. Even though it is established that a major source of such variations is genetic heritage, there are no studies tracking down auditory predicting processes to genetic mutations. Thus, we examined the neurophysiological responses to deviant stimuli recorded with magnetoencephalography (MEG) in 108 healthy participants carrying different variants of Val158Met single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, responsible for the majority of catecholamines degradation in the prefrontal cortex. Our results showed significant amplitude enhancement of prediction error responses originating from the inferior frontal gyrus, superior and middle temporal cortices in heterozygous genotype carriers (Val/Met) vs homozygous (Val/Val and Met/Met) carriers. Integrating neurophysiology and genetics, this study shows how the neural mechanisms underlying optimal deviant detection vary according to the gene-determined cathecolamine levels in the brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117954DOI Listing
June 2021

Putting Cells in Motion: Advantages of Endogenous Boosting of BDNF Production.

Cells 2021 01 18;10(1). Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Unit of Pharmacology, Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, via Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Motor exercise, such as sport or musical activities, helps with a plethora of diseases by modulating brain functions in neocortical and subcortical regions, resulting in behavioural changes related to mood regulation, well-being, memory, and even cognitive preservation in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Although evidence is accumulating on the systemic neural mechanisms mediating these brain effects, the specific mechanisms by which exercise acts upon the cellular level are still under investigation. This is particularly the case for music training, a much less studied instance of motor exercise than sport. With regards to sport, consistent neurobiological research has focused on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an essential player in the central nervous system. BDNF stimulates the growth and differentiation of neurons and synapses. It thrives in the hippocampus, the cortex, and the basal forebrain, which are the areas vital for memory, learning, and higher cognitive functions. Animal models and neurocognitive experiments on human athletes converge in demonstrating that physical exercise reliably boosts BDNF levels. In this review, we highlight comparable early findings obtained with animal models and elderly humans exposed to musical stimulation, showing how perceptual exposure to music might affect BDNF release, similar to what has been observed for sport. We subsequently propose a novel hypothesis that relates the neuroplastic changes in the human brains after musical training to genetically- and exercise-driven BDNF levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells10010183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7831493PMC
January 2021
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