Non-musicians' perception of phrase boundaries in music: A cross-cultural ERP study.Biol Psychol. 2009 Sep; 82(1):70-81.BP
The present study investigates neural responses to musical phrase boundaries in subjects without formal musical training, with special emphasis on the issue of cultural familiarity (i.e., the relation between the enculturation of the subjects and the cultural style of the presented music). German and Chinese non-musicians listened to Western and Chinese melodies which contained manipulated phrase boundaries while event-related potentials (ERP) were measured. The behavioral data clearly showed that melodic phrase boundary perception is influenced by cultural familiarity. The ERP revealed a series of positive and negative peaks with latencies between 40ms and 550ms relative to the phrase boundary offset, all of which were influenced by the phrase melodic structure type. In contrast, cultural familiarity only influenced phrase boundary processing at longer latencies, reflected by a P3-like component peaking at 280ms. At about 450-600ms post phrase boundary offset, we observed a slightly right-lateralized music closure positive shift (CPS), which has been reported as a marker for phrase boundary processing in musicians in earlier studies. This study demonstrates for the first time that the music CPS can be elicited in non-musicians, suggesting that the underlying phrase boundary processing does not require formal musical training.