Collaboration between Beijing Normal University and CICERO Learning on auditory brain plasticity

The Pitch in the Brain project investigated effects of musical training in native Mandarin Chinese speakers in order to find out if there is a combined effect of music training and speaking a tone language on brain plasticity and auditory perception.

The project was established by PhD student Caitlin Dawson and Research Director Mari Tervaniemi as a collaboration with Beijing Normal University. There it was supervised by Professor Tao Sha and conducted in the National Key Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning with help from students Cuicui Wang and Yang Li and lab manager Du Boqi. It used auditory brainstem recording, psychometric auditory feature discrimination tests, and a self-report musical sophistication questionnaire, and the results gave novel insight into how basic sound processing is affected by musical training in people who speak a tone language.

The Music enhancing academic learning? project investigates effects of musical vs. foreign language learning on brain plasticity and academic learning. The project is a collaboration between University of Helsinki (Research Director Mari Tervaniemi) and Beijing Normal University (Professor Tao Sha). It is being conducted in Beijing by the National Key Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning in local elementary school. It is using auditory event-related potentials as well as various behavioral measures to determine, in a longitudinal intervention paradigm, the effects of music vs. language training in school-aged children. The project is financially supported by Beijing Normal University (Key Project of the Open Fund of National Key Laboratory; Innoative Research Team Project of NSFC; Future School 2030 by Beijing Advance Innovation Center for Future Education) and by University of Helsinki.