Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature
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An fMRI study was performed to see the differences in the neurological processing between spoken and sung language in religious music. Students at Brigham Young University, who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were exposed to alternating blocks of spoken and sung lyrics of religious and non-religious songs. There was no significant activation when contrasting speech and song, but there was significant activation in the right middle temporal gyrus and the posterior cingulate gyrus when listening to spoken and sung religious lyrics, suggesting an emotional reaction to religious stimuli. Contrasting spoken stimuli for both religious and non-religious examples, we also found increased activation in the right middle temporal gyrus, as well as activation in the left temporal sulcus, which suggests multi-sensory integration in the processing of lyrics when spoken.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Pielstick, Brett, "Similarities and Difference in the Neural processing of Speech and Song in Religious Music" (2018). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 39.