Can preferred music listening improve following attentional and learning performances? Here we suggest that this may be the case. In Experiment 1, following preferred and non-preferred musical-piece listening, we recorded electrophysiological responses to an auditory roving-paradigm. We computed the mismatch negativity (MMN - the difference between responses to novel and repeated stimulation), as an index of perceptual learning, and we measured the correlation between trial-by-trial EEG responses and the fluctuations in Bayesian Surprise, as a quantification of the neural attunement with stimulus informational value. Furthermore, during music listening, we recorded oscillatory cortical activity. MMN and trial-by-trial correlation with Bayesian surprise were significantly larger after subjectively preferred versus non-preferred music, indicating the enhancement of perceptual learning. The analysis on oscillatory activity during music listening showed a selective alpha power increased in response to preferred music, an effect often related to cognitive enhancements. In Experiment 2, we explored whether this learning improvement was realized at the expense of self-focused attention. Therefore, after preferred versus non-preferred music listening, we collected Heart-Beat Detection (HBD) accuracy, as a measure of the attentional focus toward the self. HBD was significantly lowered following preferred music listening. Overall, our results suggest the presence of a specific neural mechanism that, in response to aesthetically pleasing stimuli, and through the modulation of alpha oscillatory activity, redirects neural resources away from the self and toward the environment. This attentional up-weighting of external stimuli might be fruitfully exploited in a wide area of human learning activities, including education, neurorehabilitation and therapy.

Preferred music listening is associated with perceptual learning enhancement at the expense of self-focused attention

Sarasso, P;Barbieri, P;Del Fante, E;Bechis, L;Neppi-Modona, M;Sacco, K
;
Ronga, I
2022-01-01

Abstract

Can preferred music listening improve following attentional and learning performances? Here we suggest that this may be the case. In Experiment 1, following preferred and non-preferred musical-piece listening, we recorded electrophysiological responses to an auditory roving-paradigm. We computed the mismatch negativity (MMN - the difference between responses to novel and repeated stimulation), as an index of perceptual learning, and we measured the correlation between trial-by-trial EEG responses and the fluctuations in Bayesian Surprise, as a quantification of the neural attunement with stimulus informational value. Furthermore, during music listening, we recorded oscillatory cortical activity. MMN and trial-by-trial correlation with Bayesian surprise were significantly larger after subjectively preferred versus non-preferred music, indicating the enhancement of perceptual learning. The analysis on oscillatory activity during music listening showed a selective alpha power increased in response to preferred music, an effect often related to cognitive enhancements. In Experiment 2, we explored whether this learning improvement was realized at the expense of self-focused attention. Therefore, after preferred versus non-preferred music listening, we collected Heart-Beat Detection (HBD) accuracy, as a measure of the attentional focus toward the self. HBD was significantly lowered following preferred music listening. Overall, our results suggest the presence of a specific neural mechanism that, in response to aesthetically pleasing stimuli, and through the modulation of alpha oscillatory activity, redirects neural resources away from the self and toward the environment. This attentional up-weighting of external stimuli might be fruitfully exploited in a wide area of human learning activities, including education, neurorehabilitation and therapy.
2022
1
14
https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13423-022-02127-8
Neuroaesthetics; EEG; ECG; Attention; MMN; Learning; Heartbeat; Music
Sarasso, P; Barbieri, P; Del Fante, E; Bechis, L; Neppi-Modona, M; Sacco, K; Ronga, I
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1865478
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