Mireille Besson

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In order to test the language-specificity of a known neural correlate of syntactic processing [the P600 event-related brain potential (ERP) component], this study directly compared ERPs elicited by syntactic incongruities in language and music. Using principles of phrase structure for language and principles of harmony and key-relatedness for music,(More)
After a brief historical perspective of the relationship between language and music, we review our work on transfer of training from music to speech that aimed at testing the general hypothesis that musicians should be more sensitive than non-musicians to speech sounds. In light of recent results in the literature, we argue that when long-term experience in(More)
In order to investigate the lateralization of emotional speech we recorded the brain responses to three emotional intonations in two conditions, i.e., "normal" speech and "prosodic" speech (i.e., speech with no linguistic meaning, but retaining the 'slow prosodic modulations' of speech). Participants listened to semantically neutral sentences spoken with a(More)
We conducted a longitudinal study with 32 nonmusician children over 9 months to determine 1) whether functional differences between musician and nonmusician children reflect specific predispositions for music or result from musical training and 2) whether musical training improves nonmusical brain functions such as reading and linguistic pitch processing.(More)
The idea that extensive musical training can influence processing in cognitive domains other than music has received considerable attention from the educational system and the media. Here we analyzed behavioral data and recorded event-related brain potentials (ERPs) from 8-year-old children to test the hypothesis that musical training facilitates pitch(More)
Two fMRI experiments were conducted using song to investigate the domain specificity of linguistic and musical processing. In Experiment 1, participants listened to pairs of spoken words, "vocalise" (i.e., singing without words), and sung words while performing a same-different task. Results revealed bilateral involvement of middle and superior temporal(More)
Similarities and differences between language and music processing are examined from an evolutionary and a cognitive perspective. Language and music cannot be considered single entities; they need to be decomposed into different component operations or levels of processing. The central question concerns one of the most important claims of the generative(More)
ERPs were recorded while subjects were reading short familiar metaphors (e.g., Those fighters are lions), unfamiliar metaphors (Those apprentices are lions), or literal control sentences (Those animals are lions) presented in isolation or preceded by either an irrelevant or relevant context (e.g., They are not idiotic: ...." vs. "They are not cowardly:(More)
The goal of this study was to analyze the time-course of sensory (bottom-up) and cognitive (top-down) processes that govern musical harmonic expectancy. Eight-chord sequences were presented to 12 musicians and 12 nonmusicians. Expectations for the last chord were manipulated both at the sensory level (i.e., the last chord was sensory consonant or dissonant)(More)