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Speech and music may have shaped the brain’s hearing circuits

By 11th June 2019 June 12th, 2019 No Comments

Scientists in the US and France have discovered that our brains are more sensitive to pitch – the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music – than our evolutionary cousin the macaque monkey. The results, which are published in Nature Neuroscience, imply that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain.

The researchers involved in this study are from Columbia University, MIT, PSL University, Harvard University, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Cambridge, the Center for Minds, Brains and Machines, Cambridge, and the NIH.

The French members of the team are from the Laboratoire des Systèmes Perceptifs, Département d’Études Cognitives, École Normale Supérieure, PSL University.

Reference: Norman-Haignere et al., fMRI Responses to Harmonic Tones and Noises Reveal Divergence in the Functional Organization of Human and Macaque Auditory Cortex. Nature Neuroscience 10.1038/s41593-019-0410-7.

Read the article from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).