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Language, Music, and the BrainA Mysterious Relationship$
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Michael A. Arbib

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262018104

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262018104.001.0001

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Sharing and Nonsharing of Brain Resources for Language and Music

Sharing and Nonsharing of Brain Resources for Language and Music

(p.329) 14 Sharing and Nonsharing of Brain Resources for Language and Music
Language, Music, and the Brain

Aniruddh D. Patel

The MIT Press

Several theoretical and practical issues in cognitive neuroscience motivate research into the relations of language and music in the brain. Such research faces a puzzle. Currently, evidence for striking dissociations between language and music coexists with evidence for similar processing mechanisms (e.g., Peretz 2006; Patel 2008). The intent of this chapter is to initiate a dialog about how such conflicting results can be reconciled. Clearly, a coherent picture of language-music relations in the brain requires a framework that can explain both kinds of evidence. Such a framework should also generate hypothesis to guide future research. As a step toward such a framework, three distinct ways are put forth in which language and music can be dissociated by neurological abnormalities, yet have closely related cortical processing mechanisms. It is proposed that this relationship can occur when the two domains use a related functional computation and this computation relies on (a) the same brain network, but one domain is much more robust to impairments in this network than the other, (b) the interaction of shared brain networks with distinct, domain-specific brain networks, or (c) separate but anatomically homologous brain networks in opposite cerebral hemispheres. These proposals are used to explore relations between language and music in the processing of relative pitch, syntactic structure, and word articulation in speech versus song, respectively. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   language–music relations in the brain, neuralmechanisms of music, neural mechanisms of speech, song, relative pitch, syntactic structure, word articulation

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