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An ALE meta-analytic review of top-down and bottom-up processing of music in the brain

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A remarkable feature of the human brain is its ability to integrate information from the environment with internally generated content. The integration of top-down and bottom-up processes during complex multi-modal human activities, however, is yet to be fully understood. Music provides an excellent model for understanding this since music listening leads to the urge to move, and music making entails both playing and listening at the same time (i.e., audio-motor coupling). Here, we conducted activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analyses of 130 neuroimaging studies of music perception, production and imagery, with 2660 foci, 139 experiments, and 2516 participants. We found that music perception and production rely on auditory cortices and sensorimotor cortices, while music imagery recruits distinct parietal regions. This indicates that the brain requires different structures to process similar information which is made available either by an interaction with the environment (i.e., bottom-up) or by internally generated content (i.e., top-down).

Original languageEnglish
Article number20813
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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