PI: Gavin M. Bidelman

Music and language represent two fundamental human capacities found across all cultures and throughout history. In this project we ask how music and language are related at a deep level. Specifically, we examine the possibility that these unique domains recruit similar (or perhaps distinct) processes within the human brain. If brain overlap exists between music and language, it stands to reason that musical experience might transfer to influence language-related processing and vice versa, language expertise impacting music listening. We are examining both of these questions to reveal the bi-directionality between music and language functions.


  • MusicLang. Funding Agency: The GRAMMY Foundation.

Selected Publications:

  • Bidelman, G. M. & Walker, B. (in press). Attentional modulation and domain specificity underlying the neural organization of auditory categorical perception. European Journal of Neuroscience.
  • Bidelman, G. M., Schneider, A. D., Heitzmann, V. R., & Bhagat, S. P. (2017). Musicianship enhances ipsilateral and contralateral efferent gain control to the cochlea. Hearing Research, 344, 275-283.
  • Hutka, S., Carpentier, S., Bidelman, G. M., Moreno, S., & McIntosh, A. R. (2016). Musicianship and tone language are associated with differential changes in brain signal variability. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28(12), 2044-2058.
  • Bidelman, G. M., Nelms, C., & Bhagat, S. P. (2016). Musical experience sharpens human cochlear tuning. Hearing Research, 335, 40-46.
  • Bidelman, G. M. & Alain, C. (2015). Musical training orchestrates coordinated neuroplasticity in auditory brainstem and cortex to counteract age-related declines in categorical speech perception. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(3) 1240 –1249.
  • Bidelman, G. M., Weiss, M. W., Moreno, S., & Alain, C. (2014). Coordinated plasticity in brainstem and auditory cortex contributes to enhanced categorical speech perception in musicians. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40, 2662 - 2673.
  • Bidelman, G.M., Hutka, S., Moreno, S. (2013). Tone language speakers and musicians share enhanced perceptual and cognitive abilities for musical pitch: Evidence for bidirectionality between the domains of language and music. PloS One, 8, e60676.
  • Bidelman, G.M., Gandour, J.T., Krishnan, A. (2011). Musicians and tone-language speakers share enhanced brainstem encoding but not perceptual benefits for musical pitch. Brain and Cognition, 77, 1-10.
  • Bidelman, G. M., Gandour, J. T., & Krishnan, A. (2011). Cross-domain effects of music and language experience on the representation of pitch in the human auditory brainstem. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(2), 425-434.