Andrea Halpern, Professor of Psychology
Functional brain imaging studies have highlighted the significance of right-lateralized temporal, frontal and parietal brain areas for memory for melodies. The present study investigated the involvement of bilateral posterior parietal cortices (PPCs) for the recognition memory of melodies using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Participants performed a recognition task before and after tDCS. The task included an encoding phase (12 melodies), a retention period, as well as a recognition phase (24 melodies). Experiment 1 revealed that anodal tDCS over the right PPC led to a deterioration of overall memory performance compared with sham. Experiment 2 confirmed the results of Experiment 1 and further showed that anodal tDCS over the left PPC did not show a modulatory effect on memory task performance, indicating a right lateralization for musical memory. Furthermore, both experiments revealed that the decline in memory for melodies can be traced back to an interference of anodal stimulation on the recollection process (remember judgements) rather than to familiarity judgements. Taken together, this study revealed a causal involvement of the right PPC for memory for melodies and demonstrated a key role for this brain region in the recollection process of the memory task.
Schaal, Nora K.; Javadi, Amir-Homayoun; Halpern, Andrea; Pollok, Bettina; and Banissy, Michael J. “Right Parietal Cortex Mediates Recognition Memory for Melodies.” European Journal of Neuroscience 42, no. 1 (2015) : 1660-1666.