The reliability of continuous brain responses during naturalistic listening to music

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Iballa Burunat
  • Petri Toiviainen
  • Vinoo Alluri
  • Brigitte Bogert
  • Tapani Ristaniemi
  • Mikko Sams
  • Elvira Brattico

Research units

  • University of Jyväskylä
  • University of Helsinki


Low-level (timbral) and high-level (tonal and rhythmical) musical features during continuous listening to music, studied by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), have been shown to elicit large-scale responses in cognitive, motor, and limbic brain networks. Using a similar methodological approach and a similar group of participants, we aimed to study the replicability of previous findings. Participants' fMRI responses during continuous listening of a tango Nuevo piece were correlated voxelwise against the time series of a set of perceptually validated musical features computationally extracted from the music. The replicability of previous results and the present study was assessed by two approaches: (a) correlating the respective activation maps, and (b) computing the overlap of active voxels between datasets at variable levels of ranked significance. Activity elicited by timbral features was better replicable than activity elicited by tonal and rhythmical ones. These results indicate more reliable processing mechanisms for low-level musical features as compared to more high-level features. The processing of such high-level features is probably more sensitive to the state and traits of the listeners, as well as of their background in music. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-231
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Musical features, Naturalistic paradigm, Interclass correlation, Dice coefficient, Reliability, TEST-RETEST RELIABILITY, AUDITORY-CORTEX, WORKING-MEMORY, FMRI, VARIABILITY, ATTENTION, TIMBRE, NOISE, LATERALIZATION, NEUROSCIENCE

ID: 1500588