The effects of musical task parameters upon electroencephalographic alpha blocking: and hemispheric lateralization of function



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Bilateral EEG was recorded from four subgroupst musically sophisticated males, musically sophisticated females, musically naive males, and musically naive females. Using alpha blocking as a dependent variable, subjects heard musical stimuli which were systematically varied along several parameters: tonicity of melodies, frequency, intensity, chordal construction, and a gross measure. The results show that musical perception is a bi-hemispheric task. Some evidence supports the notion that variations in musical task parameters differentially affect interhemispheric indices of activation. Additionally, differences in patterns of perceptual processing were noted between males and females, and between the musically trained and the musically naive. These results are seen to support a model of perceptual processing in which musical stimuli! 1) are initially subjected to right hemispheric. Gestalt analysis, 2) are transmitted via the corpus callosum and other cerebral commissures to the left hemisphere, and 3) are then subjected to a left hemispheric, analytic processing. Finally, the results of this experiment are thought to support the dichotomization of hemispheric functions along temporal/non-temporal, analytic/synthetic, and/or sequential/ parallel processing lines.