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Data from: How does human motor cortex regulate vocal pitch in singers?

Cite this dataset

Belyk, Michel; Lee, Yune S.; Brown, Steven (2018). Data from: How does human motor cortex regulate vocal pitch in singers? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Vocal pitch is used as an important communicative device by humans, as found in the melodic dimension of both speech and song. Vocal pitch is determined by the degree of tension in the vocal folds of the larynx, which itself is influenced by complex and non-linear interactions among the laryngeal muscles. The relationship between these muscles and vocal pitch has been described by a mathematical model in the form of a set of “control rules”. We searched for the biological implementation of these control rules in the larynx motor cortex (LMC) of the human brain. We scanned choral singers with functional magnetic resonance imaging as they produced discrete pitches at four different levels across their vocal range. While the locations of the larynx motor activations varied across singers, the activation peaks for the four pitch-levels were highly consistent within each individual singer. This result was corroborated using multivoxel pattern analysis, which demonstrated an absence of patterned activations differentiating any pairing of pitch-levels. The complex and non-linear relationships between the multiple laryngeal muscles that control vocal pitch may obscure the neural encoding of vocal pitch in the brain.

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