Perceptual expertise and top-down expectation of musical notation engages the primary visual cortex.

Wong YK, Peng C, Fratus KN, Woodman GF, Gauthier I
J Cogn Neurosci. 2014 26 (8): 1629-43

PMID: 24666163 · PMCID: PMC4074229 · DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00616

Most theories of visual processing propose that object recognition is achieved in higher visual cortex. However, we show that category selectivity for musical notation can be observed in the first ERP component called the C1 (measured 40-60 msec after stimulus onset) with music-reading expertise. Moreover, the C1 note selectivity was observed only when the stimulus category was blocked but not when the stimulus category was randomized. Under blocking, the C1 activity for notes predicted individual music-reading ability, and behavioral judgments of musical stimuli reflected music-reading skill. Our results challenge current theories of object recognition, indicating that the primary visual cortex can be selective for musical notation within the initial feedforward sweep of activity with perceptual expertise and with a testing context that is consistent with the expertise training, such as blocking the stimulus category for music reading.

MeSH Terms (11)

Adult Electroencephalography Evoked Potentials Female Humans Male Music Pattern Recognition, Visual Random Allocation Visual Cortex Young Adult

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