EEG reveals potential connections between selected categories of imagery and the psycho-acoustic profile of music

EEG reveals potential connections between selected categories of imagery and the psycho-acoustic profile of music

Abstract

Twenty-seven healthy adults, M=12, F=15, age range 20-38, mean age 24.19, participated in an EEG study investigating potential connections between the listener's imagery and selected structural features of music. The stimulus was Konzertstuck for Harp and Orchestra Op. 39 by Gabriel Pierne. Examined were (1) ongoing relationships between general tendencies in the EEG activity and the psycho-acoustic characteristics of the stimulus, as defined by (a) the intensity of sound and (b) the profile of affective expression within the music, and (2) associations between the most frequently observed patterns of EEG activity and the listeners' verbal reports. Assessment suggested that - after the initial increase in alertness - the listeners responded to the music with a progressively deepening counterarousal, and that the ongoing direction of this response was in negative correlation with the direction of the psycho-acoustic intensity produced by the music. The Fisher exact probability test revealed a strong (p=0.01937) association between the presence of transient isolated discharges in the EEG and the occurrence of visual imagery. This finding, assessed with reference to the ongoing psycho-acoustic profile of the stimulus, suggested that visual imagery occurred to the listeners most frequently during rapid, large-scale releases of musical tension. The overall psycho-acoustic structure of Konzertstuck is discussed with reference to its potential ability to facilitate the flow of mental imagery. Recommendations are made for future research.

 

Keywords: EEG; imagery; music


Citation

Lem, A. (1998). EEG reveals potential connections between selected categories of imagery and the psycho-acoustic profile of music. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 9, 3-17.


Date published: July 1998