Infoscience

Journal article

Improving left spatial neglect through music scale playing

The study assessed whether the auditory reference provided by a music scale could improve spatial exploration of a standard musical instrument keyboard in right-brain-damaged patients with left spatial neglect. As performing music scales involves the production of predictable successive pitches, the expectation of the subsequent note may facilitate patients to explore a larger extension of space in the left affected side, during the production of music scales from right to left. Eleven right-brain-damaged stroke patients with left spatial neglect, 12 patients without neglect, and 12 age-matched healthy participants played descending scales on a music keyboard. In a counterbalanced design, the participants' exploratory performance was assessed while producing scales in three feedback conditions: With congruent sound, no-sound, or random sound feedback provided by the keyboard. The number of keys played and the timing of key press were recorded. Spatial exploration by patients with left neglect was superior with congruent sound feedback, compared to both Silence and Random sound conditions. Both the congruent and incongruent sound conditions were associated with a greater deceleration in all groups. The frame provided by the music scale improves exploration of the left side of space, contralateral to the right hemisphere, damaged in patients with left neglect. Performing a scale with congruent sounds may trigger at some extent preserved auditory and spatial multisensory representations of successive sounds, thus influencing the time course of space scanning, and ultimately resulting in a more extensive spatial exploration. These findings offer new perspectives also for the rehabilitation of the disorder.

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