Concordia University

Virginia Penhune, PhD

Professor and Chair, Psychology

Office: L-SP 253-7 
Richard J. Renaud Science Complex,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 7535
Website(s): Lab Website
CRDH Website


PhD (McGill University)

Research interests

My research program explores the neural basisof human motor skill learning.  I use structural and functional neuroimaging techniques to examine the role of the cerebellum, striatum and motor cortical areas in the learning and retention ofmotor skills.  My work takes a broad developmental perspective, including studies in children and older adults, as well as individuals with musical training. I am a founding member of the Montreal Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound (BRAMS), as well as the NSERC-funded training grant in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience.  In addition, I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the Quebec Bio-imaging Network, as well as a member of the FRQ-funded Centre for Research in Human Development, the Centre for Research in Brain, Language and Music, and an associate member of the Centre for the Study of Behavioural Neurobiology. 

Selected publications

1.     StephanMA, Lega C and Penhune VB. Auditory prediction cues motorpreparation in the absence of movement (2018).

2.     Ireland K, Parker A, Foster N, PenhuneVB (2018). Rhythm and Melody Tasks for School-aged Children With and WithoutMusical Training: Age-Equivalent Scores and Reliability. Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience. Front. Psychol., 05April 2018 |

3.     KarpatiFJ, Giacosa C, Foster NEV, PenhuneVB and Hyde KH (2017).  Dance and music share grey-matter structural correlates. Brain Research. 1657:62-73 doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2016.11.029

4.     Stephan MA, Brown RM, Lega C and PenhuneVB (2016). Melodic Priming of Motor Sequence Performance: The Role of theDorsal Premotor Cortex.  Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience.10:210. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00210.

5.     Lega C, Stephan MA, Zatorre RJ andPenhune VB (2016).  Testing the role ofdorsal premotor cortex in learning auditory-motor associations using TMS.  PLoSOne. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163380

6.     Giacosa C, Karpati F, Penhune VB and Hyde KH(2016).  Dance and music training havedifferent effects on white matter diffusivity in sensorimotor pathways. NeuroImage. 135:273-86.doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.04.048.

7.     KarpatiFJ, Giacosa C, Foster NEV, PenhuneVB and Hyde KH (2016).  Sensorimotorintegration is enhanced in dancers and musicians.  ExperimentalBrain Research 234(3):893-903. doi: 10.1007/s00221-015-4524-1.

8.      Matthews TE,Thibodeau JNL, Gunther B and PenhuneVB (2015).  Impact of instrument-specificmusic training on rhythm perception and production.  Frontiersin Psychology. 7:69. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00069.

9.      Korotkevich Y, Trewartha K, Penhune VB and Li KZH (2015). Effects of age and cognitive load on response reprogramming.  ExperimentalBrain Research. 233(3):937-46. doi:10.1007/s00221-014-4169-5.

10.  Karpati FJ, Giacosa C, Foster NEV, Penhune VB and Hyde KH (2015).  Dance and the brain:  A review. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1337: 140-146 doi: 10.1111/nyas.12632.

11.  Baer LH, Park MT, Bailey JA, ChakravartyMM, Li KZH and Penhune VB (2015). Regional cerebellar volumes are related toearly musical training and finger tapping performance.  NeuroImage,105:130-139.  Doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.12.076

12.  Villeneuve M, Penhune VB andLamontagne A (2014).   A piano training program to improve manual dexterity and upperextremity function in chronic stroke survivors. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,22 August 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00662

13.  Padrão G, deDiego-Balaguer R, Marco-Pallares J, Penhune VB and Rodriguez-Fornells A (2014).Evidence of adaptive changes in error processing and attentional control duringrhythm synchronization learning. Neuroimage.PMID:24956067

14.  Bailey JA, Zatorre RJ and Penhune VB (2014). Early musical training:  Effectson auditory motor integration and grey matter structure in ventral premotorcortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience,26(4): 755-67.  PMID: 24236696

15.  Bailey JA and Penhune VB (2013). Therelationship between the age of onset of musical training and rhythmsynchronization performance: Validation of sensitive period effects.  Frontiers in Auditory CognitiveNeuroscience, doi: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00227. PMID:24348323

16.  Trewartha K, Spilka, M, Penhune VB, Li KZH and Phillips N (2013). Context updating processes facilitate responsereprogramming in younger but not older adults. Psychologyand Aging, 28 (3): 701-713.  PMID: 24041003

17.  Baer LH, Thibodeau JLN, Gralnick TL, Li KZH and Penhune VB (2013). The role of musical training in emergent and event-based timing.  Frontiersin Human Neuroscience. PMID:  23717275. 

18.  Steele CJ, Bailey JA, Zatorre RJ and Penhune VB (2013). Earlymusical training and white-matter plasticity in the Corpus Callosum:  Evidence for a sensitive period.  Journalof Neuroscience, 33(3):  1282-1290. PMID: 23325263

19.  Kung SJ, ChenJL, Zatorre RJ and Penhune VB (2013). Interacting cortical and basal ganglia networksunderlying finding and tapping to the musical beat. Journal of CognitiveNeuroscience, 25(3): 401-420PMID: 23163420.

20.  Brown RM, Chen JL,Hollinger A, Penhune VB, Palmer C & Zatorre RJ(2013). Repetition suppression in auditory-motor regions to pitch andtemporal structure in music. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(2):313-328PMID: 23163413.

21.  Steele CJ,Scholtz J, Douaud G, Johansen-Berg H and Penhune VB (2012).  Structural correlates of skilled performanceon a motor sequence learning task.  Frontiersin Human Neuroscience, 6:28;  doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00289. PMID: 23125826

22.  Bailey JAand Penhune VB (2012).  A sensitive period for musical training: Contributions of age ofonset and auditory working memory.  Proceedings of theNew York Academy of Sciences, 1252(1): 163-170.  PMID:  22524355

23.  Penhune VB and Steele CJ (2012). Parallelcontributions of cerebellar, striatal and M1 mechanisms to human motor sequencelearning. Behavioral and Brain Research, 226(2): 579-91.  PMID:22004979

24.  TrewarthaK, Li KJHand Penhune VB (2011).  Movementkinematics of pre-potent response suppression in aging: Effects of conflictsalience and frequencyJournals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 66(2):185-194.  PMID: 21183582

25.  Penhune VB (2011).  Sensitiveperiods in human development:  evidencefrom musical training.  Cortex, 47(9):1126-37.  PMID: 21665201

26.  Spilka M,Steele CJ and Penhune VB (2010).  Action imitation and the effects of musicaltraining.  Experimental Brain Research, 204(4):549-558.  PMID: 20574688

27.  Savion-Lemieux T and Penhune VB (2010).The effect of practice pattern on the acquisition andconsolidation of motor sequences. ExperimentalBrain Research, 204(2):271-81.  PMID: 20526710

28.  Bailey JA andPenhune VB (2010). Rhythm synchronization performanceand auditory working memory in early- and late-trained musicians.  Experimental BrainResearch, 204(1):91-101.  PMID: 20508918.

29.  Steele CJand Penhune VB (2010).  Specific increases within global decreases: An fMRI investigation offive days of motor sequence learning.  Journalof Neuroscience, 30(24):8332-41.

30.  Fraser SA, Li KZH and PenhuneVB (2010).  Dual-tasks performance reveals increasedinvolvement of executive control in fine motor sequencing in healthyaging.  Journals of Gerontology:  Psychological Sciences, 65(5):526-35

31.  Chen JL, Penhune VB and Zatorre RJ (2009). The role of auditory and premotor cortex in sensorimotortransformationsProceedings of the New York Academy ofSciences, 1169:15-34.

32.  Fraser SA,Li, KZH and Penhune VB (2009). A comparison of motorskill learning and retention in younger and older adults.  Experimental BrainResearch, 195(3):419-27.

33.  Savion-Lemieux T,Bailey JA and Penhune VB(2009).  Developmental contributions tomotor sequence learning.  Experimental Brain Research, 195(2):293-306.

34.  Trewartha KM, Endo A, Li KZHand Penhune V (2009).  Examining pre-potentresponse suppression in aging: A kinematic analysis.  Psychologyand Aging, 24(2):450-61.

35.  Doyon J, Bellec P, Amsel R, Penhune VB, Monchi O, Benali H(2009).  Contributions of the BasalGanglia and functionally related brain structures to motor learning.  Behavioraland Brain Research, 199(1):61-75.

36.  Warrier CM, Wong PCM, Penhune VB, Zatorre RJ and Kraus N(2009).  Relating structure to function: Heschl's Gyrus and auditory temporal processing.  Journalof Neuroscience, 29(1):61-69.

37.  Chen JL, Penhune VB and Zatorre RJ (2008). Listening to musical rhythmsrecruits motor regions of the brain, CerebralCortex, 18(12): 2844-54.

38.  Chen JL, PenhuneVB and Zatorre RJ (2008).  Moving on time:  brain networkfor auditory-motor synchronization is modulated by rhythm complexity andmusical training.  Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(2):226-239.

39.  Wong PCM, Warrier CM, Penhune VB, Roy AK, Sadehh A, Parrish TB, andZatorre RJ (2008).  Volume of leftHeschl’s Gyrus and linguistic pitch learningCerebralCortex, 18(4):828-36.

40.  Zatorre RJ, Chen JL andPenhune VB (2007).  When the brain playsmusic:  Sensory-motor interactions inmusic perception and production.  Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8: 547-558.

41.  Fraser SA,Li KZH, DeMont RG, Penhune VB (2007).  Effects of balance status and age on muscle activation while walkingunder divided attention.  Journal of Gerontology:  Psychological Sciences, 62B(3): P171-P178.

42.  Watanabe D, Savion-LemieuxT and Penhune VB (2007).  Theeffect of early musical training on adult motor performance:  Evidence for a sensitive period in motorlearning. Experimental BrainResearch.  176:  332-340.

43.  Chen JL, ZatorreRJ and Penhune VB (2006).  Interactions between auditory and dorsal premotorcortex during synchronization to musical rhythms.  Neuroimage. 32: 1771-1781.

44.  Chen JL, PenhuneVB and Zatorre VB (2005). Tapping in synchrony toauditory rhythms: effect of temporal structure on behavior and neural activityProceedings of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1060:400-3.

45.  Penhune VB,Watanabe D and Savion-Lemieux T(2005). The effect of early musicaltraining on adult motor performance: evidence for a sensitive period in motorlearning. Proceedingsof the New York Academy of Sciences, 1060: 265-8.

46.  Raquel Dorsaint-Pierre, Virginia B. Penhune, Kate E. Watkins, PeterNeelin, Jason P. Lerch, Marc Bouffard and Robert J. Zatorre (2006).  Asymmetries of the planum temporale and Heschl’sgyrus: Relationship to language lateralization. Brain, 129(Pt 5): 1164-76.

47.  Penhune, VB and Doyon, J (2005). Cerebellum and M1 interaction during early learning of timed motorsequences.  NeuroImage, 26: 801-812.

48.  Savion-Lemieux T and Penhune VB (2005).  The effects of practice and delay on motor skill learning andretention.   Experimental Brain Research. 161: 423-431.

49.  Penhune VB, Cismaru R, Dorsaint-Pierre R, PetittoLA and Zatorre RJ (2003).  The morphometry of auditory cortex in the congenitally deaf measuredusing MRI.  Neuroimage.  20:1215-1225.

50.  Doyon J, Penhune VB and Ungerleider LG (2003).  Distinct contributions of thecortico-striatal and cortico-cerebellar systems to motor skill learning.  Neuropsychologia.  41(3): 252-262.

51.  Penhune, VB and Doyon J (2002).  Dynamic cortical and subcortical networks inlearning and delayed recall of timed motor sequences.  Journal of Neuroscience, 22(4):  1397-1406.

52.  Zatorre, RJ, Belin, P and Penhune, VB (2002).  Structure and function of the human auditorycortex:  Music and speech.  Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6(2):  37-46.

53.  Peretz I, Ayotte J, Zatorre RJ, Mehler J, Ahad P, Penhune VB andJutras B (2002).  Congenital amusia:  A disorder of fine-grained pitchdiscrimination.  Neuron, 33(2):185-191.

54.  Zatorre, RJ and Penhune, VB (2001). Spatial localization after excision of human auditory cortex.  Journal of Neuroscience, 21(16):  6321-6328.

55.  Peretz I, Blood A, Penhune VB and Zatorre, RJ (2001).  Cortical deafness to dissonance.  Brain,124(Pt 5): 928-40.

56.  Griffiths TD, Penhune V, Peretz I, Dean JL, Patterson RD and GreenGGR (2000).   Frontal processing andauditory perception. Neuroreport, 11: 919-922.

57.  Johnsrude IS, Zatorre RJ and Penhune VB (2000).  Functional specificity in right humanauditory cortex for perceiving pitch direction. Brain, 123:  155-163.

58.  Penhune VB, Zatorre, RJ and Feindel, WH (1999).  The role of auditory cortex in retentionof   rhythmic patterns as studied inpatients with temporal lobe removals including Heschl’s gyrus. Neuropsychologia, 37(3): 315-331.

59.  Penhune VB, Zatorre RJand Evans AE (1998).  Cerebellarcontributions to motor timing:  A PETstudy of auditory and visual rhythm reproduction.  Journalof Cognitive Neuroscience, 10(6): 752-765.

60.  Penhune VB, Zatorre RJ, MacDonald Dand Evans AE (1996).  Interhemisphericanatomical differences in human primary auditory cortex:  Probabilistic mapping and volume measurementfrom MR scans.  Cerebral Cortex, 6(5):661-72.

61.  Faux SF, McCarley RW, Nestor PG,Shenton ME, Pollak SD, Penhune V, Mondrow E, Marcy B, Peterson A, Horvath T andDavis K (1993).  P300 topographicasymmetries are present in unmedicated schizophrenics. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology,88: 32-41.

62.  Nestor PG, Faux SF, McCarley RW,Penhune V, Shenton ME, Pollak SD, Sands SF (1992). Attentional cues and chronicschizophrenia:  abnormal disengagement ofattention. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,101(4): 682-689.

Back to top

© Concordia University