Wired for musical rhythm? A diffusion MRI-based study of individual differences in music perception

  • Archith Rajan
  • Jeffrey M. Valla
  • Jacob Antony Alappatt
  • Megha Sharda
  • Apurva Shah
  • Madhura Ingalhalikar
  • Nandini C. SinghEmail author
Original Article


Music perceptual abilities are subjective and exhibit high inter-individual variability. Twenty-nine participants with varying degrees of musical training were tested for musical perception ability with the Profile of Music Perception Skills (PROMS) and brain structural measures obtained via diffusion tensor imaging. Controlling for the period of training, TBSS results showed that individuals with better musical perception abilities showed increased deviations from linear anisotropy in the corpus callosum. Specifically, mode of anisotropy in the genu and body of the corpus callosum was negatively correlated with music perception score suggesting the presence of crossing fibers. A multi-compartment model of crossing fibers revealed a significant positive relation for partial volumes of secondary fiber populations with timing aspects of music perception. Our results suggest that inter-hemispheric connectivity differences in the anterior parts of the corpus callosum may reflect innate differences in the processing of the rhythmic aspects of music.


Music perception Diffusion-weighted imaging Corpus callosum Rhythm Tempo TBSS PROMS-S 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee of the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, and were in compliance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Written and informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Archith Rajan
    • 1
  • Jeffrey M. Valla
    • 1
  • Jacob Antony Alappatt
    • 1
  • Megha Sharda
    • 2
  • Apurva Shah
    • 3
  • Madhura Ingalhalikar
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nandini C. Singh
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Language Literacy and Music LaboratoryNational Brain Research CentreManesarIndia
  2. 2.International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound (BRAMS)University of MontrealMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Symbiosis Center for Medical Image Analysis, Symbiosis International (Deemed University)PuneIndia
  4. 4.Department of Electronics and Tele CommunicationSymbiosis Institute of Technology, Symbiosis International (Deemed University)PuneIndia

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