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A brain basis for musical hallucinations

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, Dr Will Sedley, Sundeep Teki, Professor Tim GriffithsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The physiological basis for musical hallucinations (MH) is not understood. One obstacle to understanding has been the lack of a method to manipulate the intensity of hallucination during the course of experiment. Residual inhibition, transient suppression of a phantom percept after the offset of a masking stimulus, has been used in the study of tinnitus. We report here a human subject whose MH were residually inhibited by short periods of music. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) allowed us to examine variation in the underlying oscillatory brain activity in different states. Source-space analysis capable of single-subject inference defined left-lateralised power increases, associated with stronger hallucinations, in the gamma band in left anterior superior temporal gyrus, and in the beta band in motor cortex and posteromedial cortex. The data indicate that these areas form a crucial network in the generation of MH, and are consistent with a model in which MH are generated by persistent reciprocal communication in a predictive coding hierarchy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kumar S, Sedley W, Barnes GR, Teki S, Firston KJ, Griffiths TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cortex

Year: 2014

Volume: 52

Pages: 86-97

Print publication date: 01/03/2013

Online publication date: 16/12/2013

Acceptance date: 06/12/2013

Date deposited: 02/09/2014

ISSN (print): 0010-9452

ISSN (electronic): 1973-8102

Publisher: Edizioni Edra


DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.12.002


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Funder referenceFunder name
WT091681MAWellcome Trust