A neurophysiological study into the foundations of tonal harmony.

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Our findings provide magnetoencephalographic evidence that the mismatch-negativity response to two-note chords (dyads) is modulated by a combination of abstract cognitive differences and lower-level differences in the auditory signal. Participants were presented with series of simple-ratio sinusoidal dyads (perfect fourths and perfect fifths) in which the difference between the standard and deviant dyad exhibited an interval change, a shift in pitch space, or both. In addition, the standard-deviant pair of dyads either shared one note or both notes were changed. Only the condition that featured both abstract changes (interval change and pitch-space shift) and two novel notes showed a significantly larger magnetoencephalographic mismatch-negativity response than the other conditions in the right hemisphere. Implications for music and language processing are discussed.







Elika Bergelson

Associate Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Dr. Bergelson's lab has moved to Harvard Psychology; she retains an unremunerated research appointment at Duke through mid-2024 for logistical reasons. She formerly accepted PhD applicants through the Developmental and Cog/CogNeuro areas of P&N and the CNAP program.

In my research, I try to understand the interplay of processes during language acquisition.
In particular, I am interested in how word learning relates to other aspects of learning language (e.g. speech sound acquisition, grammar/morphology learning), and social/cognitive development more broadly (e.g. joint attention processes) in the first few years of life.

I pursue these questions using three main approaches: in-lab measures of early comprehension and production (eye-tracking, looking-time, and in EEG studies in collaboration with the Woldorff lab), and at-home measures of infants' linguistic and social environment (as in the SEEDLingS project).

More recently the lab is branching out to look at a wider range of human populations and at infants who are blind or deaf/heard of hearing.

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