The Basis for Music Therapy

For centuries, experts have observed the beneficial effects of music for patients with neurological disorders.

Scientists have proved that music promotes long-term memory, social interaction and communication for patients with severe neurological disorders.

However, researchers continue to search for a scientific basis that explains the way by which music affects physical and psychosocial responses.

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have turned to a potential evolutionary explanation positing that music perception may be an outgrowth of animal communication calls.

For instance, in many non-human primates, many animal vocalizations contain components, commonly referred to as complex tones, which consist of a fundamental frequency (f0) and higher harmonics.

Using electrophysiological recording techniques to study the neuronal activities in the auditory cortex of awake monkeys, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center’s have shown neurons tuned to the fundamental frequencies and harmonic sounds, and such neural mechanisms of harmonic processing lay close to tonotopically organized auditory areas.

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