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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 - Music

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Craig Chambers

Effects of Experience with Music Intro - Effects on music processing - Effects on other domains Many aspects of music perception and cognition are not affected by explicit instruction - But some differences do exist: o Pre-cortical processing of musical sound is different for musicians compared to non-musicians o Cortical processing reflects expertise-based differences for sounds produced by the instrument the musician plays - What influences might music experience have on other domains? One Intriguing Idea: The Mozart Effect - Initial demonstration that PASSIVE EXPOSURE to classical music caused enhanced performance on spatial reasoning task - Popular press misreported effect as being about IQ - Results made big splash in parenting/early child education circles; Georgia state legislature: proposed budget to provide every newborn with classical music CD! - BUT: o Subsequently shown to be temporary (minutes) o Effect not direct result of music but the arousal/mood modulations that music creates - Example: not all classical music creates the effect (needs to be upbeat, positive- sounding)’ and rock music can also create the effect What about FORMAL INSTRUCTION? - Numerous studies have shown correlations between IQ and music training - Interpretive problem: do these correlations arise simply because children with higher IQ have higher musical abilities (and tend to enroll in/continue with lessons?) Addressing the Interpretive Problem: - Schellenberg (2004) o Study of 6-yr-olds o Got either a year of free music lessons OR free drama lessons o IQ measured before and after year of lessons o Found IQ increased more with children who were in the music lesson group o Effects occurred across all of the subparts of the IQ test Why does this effect occur? - Something special about music in particular? - Or a more indirect cause? - Subsequent studies suggest effect is related to components of so-called ―executive function‖, ex: the ability to focus on the task, inhibit responses to distractions, and monitor one’s own musical performance in relation to the memory-stored version Music and Emotion - Recall: if music is understood to communicate something, the most plausible ―thing‖ is likely emotion - Other possibility: a tool for social interactive cohesion? (yes, but less general – only relevant for situations involving multiple individuals, not an ―iPod experience‖) - The potential to convey emotion = often apparent when considering the ―soundtrack‖ for films, TV shows, commercials, etc. Views on how music conveys emotion - (1) Cognitivist position: listeners are sensitive to the emotional meaning of music, but don’t necessarily directly experience the emotion - (2) Emotivist position: music directly evokes an emotional response - The debate gets particularly tricky when we consider that, in the modern world, people can select what to listen to o Did you mood determine what yu decide to list to, or vise versa? What might serve as evidence? - Physiological responses to music - Example: tingling, chills, shuddering o Can be assessed by self report - More fine-grained measures o Assessed with instrumentation o GSR (galvanic skin response: detects fine grained differences in sweating levels) o Heart rate o Respiration rate o Blood pressure - The existence of these effects could be used to argue for a ―direct‖ experience of emotion in music Interestingly: - Physiological responses tend to be similar regardless of the emotional valence of the music (example: happy vs. sad) - Perhaps evidence from these measures is only partially supportive for emotivist view? Relate to arousal levels more than types of emotion? Are some emotions communicated more easily than others? - Thompson and Robitaille (1992) - Asked established composers to create six melodies intended to communicate the following emotions: o Happiness o Sadness o Excitement o Dullness o Anger o Peacefulness Melodies were recorded using a MIDI sequencer that eliminated differences in performance expression - Listeners rated each melody for each of the six emotions - The composers’ intended emotions were typically rated higher than the unintended emotions for each musical composition - BUT: some differences emerged: o Happiness, sadness, excitement = best communicated o Anger = difficult to communicate - Subsequent research: opposite strategy – examine how performance expression conveys emotion when musical piece is held constant - Findings show a performer can communicate differing levels of certain emotions by how s/he is playing Can our listening experiences reveal the complexity of human emotion? - Common view of emotional ―valence‖ o Happy—sad - Position at opposite ends of a continuum suggests they cannot occur together in any strong degree Hunter, Schellenberg and Schimmack (2008) - Listeners rated how music excerpts made them feel using separate happy/sad scales - Each excerpt belonged to one of four stimulus types: o Fast tempo – major key o Fast tempo – minor key o Slow tempo – major key o Slow tempo – minor key - Faster tempo-major key normally sounds happier - Combination of key and tempo created samples where emotional valence cues were either the same or mixed - Results: o Responses to the mixed cases showed separation of ―happy‖ and ―sad‖ dimensions o Example: excerpt with minor key and fast tempo would score high on both happy and sad Music and the Brain - Interesting domain for exploring… o Specialization of hemispheres/ more specific brain regions for certain kinds of information processing o Concept of plasticity (example: in relation to expertise) o Differences/ similarities between music and language Initial Path - Sensory input from cochlea (inner ear) to brainstem to auditory cortex, in temporal lob - AC subdivided into primary, secondary, tertiary regions - Primary auditory cortex (―A1‖) contains tonotopic maps (frequency maps—
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