Music-related Memory - Development


Neural structures form and become more sophisticated as a result of experience. For example, the preference for consonance, the harmony or agreement of components, over dissonance, an unstable tone combination, is found early in development. Research suggests that this is due to both the experiencing of structured sounds and the fact they stem from development of the basilar membrane and auditory nerve, two early developing structures in the brain. An incoming auditory stimulus evokes responses measured in the form of an Event-related potential (ERP), measured brain responses resulting directly from a thought or perception. There is a difference in ERP measures for normally developing infants ranging from 2–6 months in age. Measures in infants 4 months and older demonstrate faster, more negative ERPs. In contrast, newborns and infants up to 4 months of age show slow, unsynchronized, positive ERPs. Trainor, et al. (2003) hypothesized that these results indicated that responses from infants less than four months of age, are produced by subcortical auditory structures, whereas, with older infants, responses tend to originate in the higher cortical structures.

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