Yukio Imamura, Yuki Murakami, Ken Miura, Koji Miura, Takafumi Miyazaki, Keijiro Yamada, Satoko Mitani and Syohken Koh
Blood-oxygen dynamics in response to prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity are important for emotional responses to sensory stimuli, such as music. However, the local neuronal circuits involved in the encoding of musical information by the PFC remain unknown. We aimed to examine alterations in prefrontal activity patterns while participants listened to musical pieces with different properties. Brain function was examined in 28 participants (14 men, 14 women) while they listened to two musical pieces (“Salut d’Amour” and “Pomp and Circumstance Marches”) using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), electrocardiography, and pulse oximetry. The delta oxyhemoglobin (ΔOxy-Hb) levels were significantly reduced in the left lateral PFC during “Pomp and Circumstance Marches”, relative to those observed during “Salut d’Amour”. Wavelet analyses of brain metabolism revealed that “Salut d’Amour” altered brain activity between 0.015-0.030 Hz, whereas “Pomp and Circumstance Marches” sparsely activated the brain at 0.015 Hz and activated the dorsolateral and orbitofrontal PFC at 0.030 Hz. These findings demonstrate that different musical stimuli exert differential effects on brain metabolism associated with neural activity in the PFC. These patterns may shed light on the mechanisms underlying music processing in the brain, and the overall role of music in promoting mental health and creation of better circumstances for physiological conditions in human.