Prior neuroimaging work on visual perceptual expertise has focused on changes in the visual system, ignoring possible effects of acquiring expert visual skills in nonvisual areas. We investigated expertise for reading musical notation, a skill likely to be associated with multimodal abilities. We compared brain activity in music-reading experts and novices during perception of musical notation, Roman letters, and mathematical symbols and found selectivity for musical notation for experts in a widespread multimodal network of areas. The activity in several of these areas was correlated with a behavioral measure of perceptual fluency with musical notation, suggesting that activity in nonvisual areas can predict individual differences in visual expertise. The visual selectivity for musical notation is distinct from that for faces, single Roman letters, and letter strings. Implications of the current findings to the study of visual perceptual expertise, music reading, and musical expertise are discussed.

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