How the Brain Understands Spoken and Sung Sentences.

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How the Brain Understands Spoken and Sung Sentences.

Brain Sci. 2020 Jan 08;10(1):

Authors: Rossi S, Gugler MF, Rungger M, Galvan O, Zorowka PG, Seebacher J

Abstract
The present study investigates whether meaning is similarly extracted from spoken and sung sentences. For this purpose, subjects listened to semantically correct and incorrect sentences while performing a correctness judgement task. In order to examine underlying neural mechanisms, a multi-methodological approach was chosen combining two neuroscientific methods with behavioral data. In particular, fast dynamic changes reflected in the semantically associated N400 component of the electroencephalography (EEG) were simultaneously assessed with the topographically more fine-grained vascular signals acquired by the functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). EEG results revealed a larger N400 for incorrect compared to correct sentences in both spoken and sung sentences. However, the N400 was delayed for sung sentences, potentially due to the longer sentence duration. fNIRS results revealed larger activations for spoken compared to sung sentences irrespective of semantic correctness at predominantly left-hemispheric areas, potentially suggesting a greater familiarity with spoken material. Furthermore, the fNIRS revealed a widespread activation for correct compared to incorrect sentences irrespective of modality, potentially indicating a successful processing of sentence meaning. The combined results indicate similar semantic processing in speech and song.

PMID: 31936356 [PubMed]

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