PNB Research Seminar - Hector Orozco-Perez (Trainor Lab) - Does directionality in hyperbrain networks reflect leader and follower roles during joint piano playing?



Does directionality in hyperbrain networks reflect leader and follower roles during joint piano playing?Abstract: When two or more people engage in interpersonal action coordination–such as playing music together–physiological responses have been reported to synchronize, including heart rate, breathing rate, and body sway (Vickhoff  et al., 2013; Müller & Lindenberger, 2011; Chang et al., 2017). Recently, researchers have tried to extrapolate these findings to the study of oscillatory cortical activity (brainwaves). Electrophysiological (EEG) studies of hyper-brain networks have been described in which information flows between two or more brains during joint music playing (Sänger et al., 2012; Sänger et al., 2013). However, it is unclear whether this represents interpersonal action coordination, or if correlations in phase dynamics are simply a by-product of shared perception (musicians are in the same room, listening to the same music). We aim to determine a spatio-temporal mapping of the neural substrates of interpersonal action coordination by both replicating previous findings and addressing the studies’ shortcomings. To do this, we use (1) an alternating social roles paradigm (leader - follower) in which pairs of pianists play both polyphonic duos (no clear melody; hence no leader) and homophonic duets (leader-follower roles embedded in melody and accompaniment); and (2) Normalized Symbolic Transfer Entropy (Staniek & Lehnertz, 2008; Lee et al., 2015)—an information theory statistic that can be regarded as a non-linear extension of Granger causality. Preliminary results show that the emergence of a leader-follower dynamic seems to alleviate cognitive load as indexed by higher within EEG networks and body sway information flow during Polyphonic duos. 

Location information

1280 Main St. West Hamilton, ON Canada

Hamilton L8S
1280 Main Street West

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1