The Basis for Music TherapyFor centuries, experts have observed the beneficial effects of music for patients with neurological disorders.

Scientists have proved that music promotes long-term memory, social interaction and communication for patients with severe neurological disorders.

However, researchers continue to search for a scientific basis that explains the way by which music affects physical and psychosocial responses.

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have turned to a potential evolutionary explanation positing that music perception may be an outgrowth of animal communication calls.

For instance, in many non-human primates, many animal vocalizations contain components, commonly referred to as complex tones, which consist of a fundamental frequency (f0) and higher harmonics.

Using electrophysiological recording techniques to study the neuronal activities in the auditory cortex of awake monkeys, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center’s have shown neurons tuned to the fundamental frequencies and harmonic sounds, and such neural mechanisms of harmonic processing lay close to tonotopically organized auditory areas.

They presented their findings at the 39th annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience.

“The understanding of neural mechanism of ‘innate’ music features in non-human primates will facilitate an improved understanding of music perception in the human nervous system,” explains Yuki Kikuchi, PhD, a research associate in the department of physiology and biophysics.

“This will allow a neurobiological framework from which to understand the basis of the effectiveness of music therapeutic interventions.”

Source: Georgetown University Medical Center