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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 274919, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/274919
Research Article

A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study of the Brain of University Students Majoring in Music and Nonmusic Disciplines

1Department of Information and Communication Sciences, Sophia University, Tokyo 102-8554, Japan
2Department of Psychiatry, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan
3Juntendo Shizuoka Hospital, Shizuoka 410-2295, Japan

Received 23 January 2015; Revised 28 March 2015; Accepted 29 March 2015

Academic Editor: Shinichi Furuya

Copyright © 2015 Kanako Sato et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The brain changes flexibly due to various experiences during the developmental stages of life. Previous voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies have shown volumetric differences between musicians and nonmusicians in several brain regions including the superior temporal gyrus, sensorimotor areas, and superior parietal cortex. However, the reported brain regions depend on the study and are not necessarily consistent. By VBM, we investigated the effect of musical training on the brain structure by comparing university students majoring in music with those majoring in nonmusic disciplines. All participants were right-handed healthy Japanese females. We divided the nonmusic students into two groups and therefore examined three groups: music expert (ME), music hobby (MH), and nonmusic (NM) group. VBM showed that the ME group had the largest gray matter volumes in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG; BA 44), left middle occipital gyrus (BA 18), and bilateral lingual gyrus. These differences are considered to be caused by neuroplasticity during long and continuous musical training periods because the MH group showed intermediate volumes in these regions.