MIB Guest Talk: Marcus Pearce

The Center for Music in the Brain is honored to host Dr. Marcus Pearce from Queen Mary, University of London in a talk entitled: "Predictive Processing of Music: Expectation & Aesthetics"

2015.11.23 | Henriette Blæsild Vuust

Date Tue 01 Dec
Time 14:00 16:00
Location CFIN/MIB meeting room, 5th floor, AUH building 10G, Nørrebrogade 44, Aarhus C.

Center for Music in the Brain guest talk w. Dr Marcus T. Pearce Music Cognition Lab, School of Electronic Engineer-ing & Computer Science, Queen Mary, University of London

"Predictive Processing of Music: Expectation & Aesthetics"


Abstract: Eduard Hanslick (1854) identified the importance of unconscious expectations in the aesthetic experience of music. Unex-pected musical events introduce a sense of tension and suspense while expected events generate pleasurable feelings of resolution. Some 100 years later, Leonard B. Meyer (1957) suggested that expectations are built upon learned cognitive representations of musi-cal styles instantiated as probability systems in the minds of composers, performers and listeners. Until recently, there has been sur-prisingly little scientific work to corroborate these hypotheses. I will present a dynamic information-theoretic model of auditory ex-pectation (Pearce, 2005) that learns through musical experience and generates probabilistic predictions about forthcoming events (e.g., the pitch or onset time of the next note), given the current context. In empirical experiments with listeners, ratings of unexpect-edness and uncertainty, and electrophysiological responses to expected and unexpected notes, show a close correspondence with the predictions of the model, measured in terms of information content and entropy (Pearce, 2005; Pearce et al., 2010; Omigie et al., 2012, 2013). Furthermore, behavioural and physiological emotional responses to live musical performances have been shown to vary systematically with the probabilistic expectations of the model (Egermann et al., 2013). These empirical results confirm and add com-putational and psychological detail to the cognitive processes proposed by Hanslick and Meyer.

References can be found here: webprojects.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/marcusp/index.php

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