Scientific article

Getting the beat: Entrainment of brain activity by musical rhythm and pleasantness

Published inNeuroImage, vol. 103C, p. 55-64
Publication date2014

Rhythmic entrainment is an important component of emotion induction by music, but brain circuits recruited during spontaneous entrainment of attention by music and the influence of the subjective emotional feelings evoked by music remain still largely unresolved. In this study we used fMRI to test whether the metric structure of music entrains brain activity and how music pleasantness influences such entrainment. Participants listened to piano music while performing a speeded visuomotor detection task in which targets appeared time-locked to either strong or weak beats. Each musical piece was presented in both a consonant/pleasant and dissonant/unpleasant version. Consonant music facilitated target detection and targets presented synchronously with strong beats were detected faster. FMRI showed increased activation of bilateral caudate nucleus when responding on strong beats, whereas consonance enhanced activity in attentional networks. Meter and consonance selectively interacted in the caudate nucleus, with greater meter effects during dissonant than consonant music. These results reveal that the basal ganglia, involved both in emotion and rhythm processing, critically contribute to rhythmic entrainment of subcortical brain circuits by music.

Citation (ISO format)
TROST, Johanna Wiebke et al. Getting the beat: Entrainment of brain activity by musical rhythm and pleasantness. In: NeuroImage, 2014, vol. 103C, p. 55–64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.09.009
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1053-8119

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