The representation of musical thoughts in neurons of the human brain

Name of applicant

David Ricardo Quiroga Martinez


Postdoctoral Fellow


University of California Berkeley


DKK 1,329,302



Type of grant

Reintegration Fellowships


Imagining a musical piece is a skill that most humans exert with little effort. However, it is unknown how the brain achieves such an outstanding feat. In this project, I will record neural activity directly from inside the human brain to reveal how individual neurons, and the ensembles they form, represent, hold, and manipulate imagined musical sound sequences.


This project will foster our understanding of memory and imagination and will help establish a cognitive neuroscience research program based on human intracranial recordings in Denmark. The gained knowledge could be used to develop brain-computer interfaces for people with communication and motor impairments.


I will record directly from single neurons and neuronal populations inside the brain of patients with medication-resistant epilepsy while they listen, imagine and mentally manipulate short melodies. Using machine learning techniques, I will decode the melodies from neural data and identify how they are represented and communicated across the brain.

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