Modulation of P2 auditory-evoked responses by the spectral complexity of musical sounds
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We investigated whether N1 and P2 auditory-evoked responses are modulated by the spectral complexity of musical sounds in pianists and non-musicians. Study participants were presented with three variants of a C4 piano tone equated for temporal envelope but differing in the number of harmonics contained in the stimulus. A fourth tone was a pure tone matched to the fundamental frequency of the piano tones. A simultaneous electroencephalographic/magnetoencephalographic recording was made. P2 amplitude was larger in musicians and increased with spectral complexity preferentially in this group, but N1 did not. The results suggest that P2 reflects the specific features of acoustic stimuli experienced during musical practice and point to functional differences in P2 and N1 that relate to their underlying mechanisms.
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