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Montréal, Canada

Robitaille N.,University of Sydney | Robitaille N.,Music and Sound Research | Harris I.M.,University of Sydney
Journal of Vision | Year: 2011

Despite several processing limitations that have been identified in the visual system, research shows that statistical information about a set of objects could be perceived as accurately as the information about a single object. It has been suggested that extraction of summary statistics represents a different mode of visual processing, which employs a parallel mechanism free of capacity limitations. Here, we demonstrate, using reaction time measures, that increasing the number of stimuli in the set results in faster reaction times and better accuracy for estimating the mean tendency of a set. These results provide clear evidence that extraction of summary statistics relies on a distributed attention mode that operates across the whole display at once and that this process benefits from larger samples across which the summary statistics are calculated. © ARVO.

Leung A.W.S.,University of Alberta | Leung A.W.S.,Rotman Research Institute | Jolicoeur P.,University of Montreal | Jolicoeur P.,Music and Sound Research | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Detecting a brief silent interval (i.e., a gap) is more difficult when listeners perceive two concurrent sounds rather than one in a sound containing a mistuned harmonic in otherwise intune harmonics. This impairment in gap detection may reflect the interaction of low-level encoding or the division of attention between two sound objects, both of which could interfere with signal detection. To distinguish between these two alternatives, we compared ERPs during active and passive listening with complex harmonic tones that could include a gap, a mistuned harmonic, both features, or neither. During active listening, participants indicated whether they heard a gap irrespective of mistuning. During passive listening, participants watched a subtitled muted movie of their choice while the same sounds were presented. Gap detection was impaired when the complex sounds included a mistuned harmonic that popped out as a separate object. The ERP analysis revealed an early gap-related activity that was little affected by mistuning during the active or passive listening condition. However, during active listening, there was a marked decrease in the late positive wave that was thought to index attention and response-related processes. These results suggest that the limitation in detecting the gap is related to attentional processing, possibly divided attention induced by the concurrent sound objects, rather than deficits in preattentional sensory encoding. © 2015 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Baer L.H.,Concordia University at Montreal | Park M.T.M.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Park M.T.M.,University of Western Ontario | Park M.T.M.,University of Montreal | And 8 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2015

The cerebellum has been associated with timing on the millisecond scale and with musical rhythm and beat processing. Early musical training (before age 7) is associated with enhanced rhythm synchronization performance and differences in cortical motor areas and the corpus callosum. In the present study, we examined the relationships between regional cerebellar volumes, early musical training, and timing performance. We tested adult musicians and non-musicians on a standard finger tapping task, and extracted cerebellar gray and white matter volumes using a novel multi-atlas automatic segmentation pipeline. We found that early-trained musicians had reduced volume in bilateral cerebellar white matter and right lobules IV, V and VI, compared to late-trained musicians. Strikingly, better timing performance, greater musical experience and an earlier age of start of musical training were associated with smaller cerebellar volumes. Better timing performance was specifically associated with smaller volumes of right lobule VI. Collectively, these findings support the sensitivity of the cerebellum to the age of initiation of musical training and suggest that lobule VI plays a role in timing. The smaller cerebellar volumes associated with musical training and timing performance may be a reflection of more efficiently implemented low-level timing and sensorimotor processes. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Mas-Herrero E.,Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute IDIBELL | Zatorre R.J.,Montreal Neurological Institute | Zatorre R.J.,Music and Sound Research | Rodriguez-Fornells A.,Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute IDIBELL | And 4 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2014

Music has been present in all human cultures since prehistory [1, 2], although it is not associated with any apparent biological advantages (such as food, sex, etc.) or utility value (such as money). Nevertheless, music is ranked among the highest sources of pleasure [3], and its important role in our society and culture has led to the assumption that the ability of music to induce pleasure is universal. However, this assumption has never been empirically tested. In the present report, we identified a group of healthy individuals without depression or generalized anhedonia who showed reduced behavioral pleasure ratings and no autonomic responses to pleasurable music, despite having normal musical perception capacities. These persons showed preserved behavioral and physiological responses to monetary reward, indicating that the low sensitivity to music was not due to a global hypofunction of the reward network. These results point to the existence of specific musical anhedonia and suggest that there may be individual differences in access to the reward system. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Simoens V.L.,University of Helsinki | Simoens V.L.,University of Jyvaskyla | Simoens V.L.,Music and Sound Research | Hebert S.,Music and Sound Research | Hebert S.,University of Montreal
BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders | Year: 2012

Background: Tinnitus is a frequent, debilitating hearing disorder associated with severe emotional and psychological suffering. Although a link between stress and tinnitus has been widely recognized, the empirical evidence is scant. Our aims were to test for dysregulation of the stress-related hypothalamus-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis in tinnitus and to examine ear sensitivity variations with cortisol manipulation. Methods. Twenty-one tinnitus participants and 21 controls comparable in age, education, and overall health status but without tinnitus underwent basal cortisol assessments on three non-consecutive days and took 0.5 mg of dexamethasone (DEX) at 23:00 on the first day. Cortisol levels were measured hourly the next morning. Detection and discomfort hearing thresholds were measured before and after dexamethasone suppression test. Results: Both groups displayed similar basal cortisol levels, but tinnitus participants showed stronger and longer-lasting cortisol suppression after DEX administration. Suppression was unrelated to hearing loss. Discomfort threshold was lower after cortisol suppression in tinnitus ears. Conclusions: Our findings suggest heightened glucocorticoid sensitivity in tinnitus in terms of an abnormally strong glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated HPA-axis feedback (despite a normal mineralocorticoid receptor (MR)-mediated tone) and lower tolerance for sound loudness with suppressed cortisol levels. Long-term stress exposure and its deleterious effects therefore constitute an important predisposing factor for, or a significant pathological consequence of, this debilitating hearing disorder. © 2012 Simoens and Hébert; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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