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Stuctural Changes of a Musician's Brain

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Title: Stuctural Changes of a Musician's Brain
Author(s): Tuovinen, Emilia
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2016
This study's key goal was to compare the brain morphology of musicians who play symmetric instruments to musicians who play asymmetric instruments. Also, musicians' brain morphology of both groups together were compared with the brain morphology of non-musicians. The participants in this study completed questionnaires regarding their musical backgrounds. MRI scans of their brains were analyzed using FreeSurfer- software. Our two main hypotheses were that 1) asymmetrical instrumentalists have a larger right hemisphere precentral gyrus than symmetrical instrumentalists and 2) symmetrical instrumentalists have larger corpus callosa (CC) than asymmetrical instrumentalists. We also aimed to replicate other findings related to these brain areas from previous studies. To a nonsignificant level, the key findings in this study are: musicians have a larger central and anterior CC compared to non-musicians and symmetrical instrumentalists have a larger anterior CC than asymmetrical instrumentalists. Compared to non-musicians, musicians have larger absolute volumes of precentral gyri in the right hemisphere but smaller in the left. When comparing relative sizes, both precentral gyri are larger in musicians than in non-musicians. Asymmetrical instrumentalists have a larger LH and RH precentral gyri, relatively and absolutely. Our findings partly support our theses to a statistically nonsignificant level.
Keyword(s): neural plasticity learning sensitive periods music Hermoston muovattavuus

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