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Steven Brown and Michael J Martinez (2007)

Activation of premotor vocal areas during musical discrimination

Brain and Cognition, 63(1):59-69.

Two same/different discrimination tasks were performed by amateur-musician subjects in this functional magnetic resonance imaging study: Melody Discrimination and Harmony Discrimination. Both tasks led to activations not only in classic working memory areas--such as the cingulate gyrus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex--but in a series of premotor areas involved in vocal-motor planning and production, namely the somatotopic mouth region of the primary and lateral premotor cortices, Broca's area, the supplementary motor area, and the anterior insula. A perceptual control task involving passive listening alone to monophonic melodies led to activations exclusively in temporal-lobe auditory areas. These results show that, compared to passive listening tasks, discrimination tasks elicit activation in vocal-motor planning areas.