Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of neuroscibullNeuroscience Bulletin
Neurosci Bull. 2008 February; 24(1): 21–28.
Published online 2008 February 27. doi:  10.1007/s12264-008-0928-2
PMCID: PMC5552527

Language: English | Chinese

Differential cognitive responses to guqin music and piano music in Chinese subjects: an event-related potential study

古琴音乐与钢琴音乐对中国被试认知反应的不同影响: 事件相关电位研究



To compare the cognitive effects of guqin (the oldest Chinese instrument) music and piano music.


Behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) data in a standard two-stimulus auditory oddball task were recorded and analyzed.


This study replicated the previous results of culture-familiar music effect on Chinese subjects: the greater P300 amplitude in frontal areas in a culture-familiar music environment. At the same time, the difference between guqin music and piano music was observed in N1 and later positive complex (LPC: including P300 and P500): a relatively higher participation of right anterior-temporal areas in Chinese subjects.


The results suggest that the special features of ERP responses to guqin music are the outcome of Chinese tonal language environments given the similarity between Guqin’s tones and Mandarin lexical tones.

Keywords: music, guqin, piano, cognitive process, event-related potential (ERP), N1, LPC, P300





记录和分析了中国被试在两种音乐背景(古琴音乐, 钢琴音乐)下完成听觉 oddball 任务的行为和事件相关电位(event-related potential, ERP)数据。


中国被试在本土文化的音乐环境(古琴音乐)下, 前额区诱导出更大的P300, 这一结果和已有的相关研究是相符的。同时, 不同音乐背景对ERP 产生的影响在N1和LPC(包括P300 和P500)上也表现出差别: 中国被试在古琴音乐背景下比钢琴音乐背景下表现出更多的右前侧颞叶的参与。


因为古琴音乐的五声调式和汉语发音的音调具有对应关系, 因此我们推断在古琴音乐下所表现出的这种特性与被试的汉语环境有关。

关键词: 音乐, 古琴, 钢琴, 认知过程, 事件相关电位(ERP), N1, LPC, P300


[1] Arikan M.K., Devrim M., Oran O., Inan S., Elhih M., Demiralp T. Music effects on event-related potentials of humans on the basis of cultural environment. Neurosci Lett. 1999;268:21–24. doi: 10.1016/S0304-3940(99)00372-9. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[2] Balkwill L.L., Thompson W.F. A cross-cultural investigation of the perception of emotion in music: psychophysical and cultural cues. Music Percept. 1999;17:43–64.
[3] Coch D., Sanders L.D., Neville H.J. An event-related potential study of selective auditory attention in children and adults. J Cogn Neurosci. 2005;17:605–622. doi: 10.1162/0898929053467631. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[4] Curran T., Tucker D.M., Kutas M., Posner M.I. Topography of the N400: brain electrical activity reflecting semantic expectancy. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1993;88:188–209. doi: 10.1016/0168-5597(93)90004-9. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[5] Dalbokova D., Kolev P., Kristeva R. Selective attention in the presence of music: an event-related potentials (ERP) study. Biol Psychol. 1988;26:307–319. doi: 10.1016/0301-0511(88)90026-9. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[6] Demorest S.M., Morrison S.J. Exploring the influence of cultural familiarity and expertise on neurological responses to music. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003;999:112–117. doi: 10.1196/annals.1284.011. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[7] Drake C., Ben El Heni J. Synchronizing with music: intercultural differences. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003;999:429–437. doi: 10.1196/annals.1284.053. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[8] Drake C., Bertrand D. The quest for universals in temporal processing in music. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001;930:17–27. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb05722.x. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[9] Finnigan S., Humphreys M.S., Dennis S., Geffen G. ERP ‘old/new’ effects: memory strength and decisional factor(s) Neuropsychologia. 2002;40:2288–2304. doi: 10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00113-6. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[10] Genc B.O., Genc E., Tastekin G., Iihan N. Musicogenic epilepsy with ictal single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT): could these cases contribute to our knowledge of music processing? Eur J Neurol. 2001;8:191–194. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-1331.2001.00190.x. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[11] Juottonen K., Revonsuo A., Lang H. Dissimilar age influences on two ERP waveforms (LPC and N400) reflecting semantic context effect. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 1996;4:99–107. doi: 10.1016/0926-6410(96)00022-5. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[12] Karayanidis F., Andrews S., Ward P.B., McConaghy N. Effects of inter-item lag on word repetition: an event-related potential study. Psychophysiology. 1991;28:307–318. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.1991.tb02200.x. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[13] Karniski W., Vanderploeg R., Lease L. “Virtual N400” and slow wave topography to auditory sentence incongruence. Brain Lang. 1993;44:58–79. doi: 10.1006/brln.1993.1005. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[14] Morrison S.J., Demorest S.M., Aylward E.H., Cramer S.C., Maravilla K.R. FMRI investigation of cross-cultural music comprehension. Neuroimage. 2003;20:378–384. doi: 10.1016/S1053-8119(03)00300-8. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[15] Nan Y., Knösche T.R., Friederici A.D. The perception of musical phrase structure: a cross-cultural ERP study. Brain Res. 2006;1094:179–191. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.03.115. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[16] Neuhaus C. Perceiving musical scale structures. A cross-cultural event-related brain potentials study. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003;999:184–188. doi: 10.1196/annals.1284.026. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
[17] Patel S.H., Azzam P.N. Characterization of N200 and P300: selected studies of the Event-Related Potential. Int J Med Sci. 2005;2:147–154. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
[18] Smith L.D., Williams R.N. Children’s artistic responses to musical intervals. Am J Psychol. 1999;112:383–410. doi: 10.2307/1423638. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Articles from Neuroscience Bulletin are provided here courtesy of Springer