“This Is What It Sounds Like: A New Model for Music Cognition”

Hosted by Susan Rogers


Models of music perception and preference have recently expanded to include the unique, subjective ways in which listeners respond to stimuli. Professor of cognitive neuroscience Susan Rogers present a new model of music cognition that describes the “listener profile”—a constellation of individualized preferences mapped to an array of musical and aesthetic dimensions. Four musical dimensions of melody, lyrics, rhythm, and timbre are each analyzed in a distinct brain network specialized for music processing. Three aesthetic dimensions—authenticity, realism, and novelty—are each processed by several interconnected higher-order brain regions that receive inputs from the four music-specific networks. Neural circuits responsible for internally-generated thoughts, such as fantasizing and mind-wandering, are shown to increase their connectivity when listeners are enjoying music they prefer, and decrease connectivity while listening to disliked music. Thus, the music we respond to the most powerfully can reveal those parts of ourselves that are robustly linked to our sense of self identity. The brain structures underlying music preferences are formed over a lifetime of musical experiences, resulting in a profile that is unique for every music lover. The ways in which music preferences form and how they differ will be discussed.

Please join us on Tuesday, November 29 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern/12:00 p.m. Pacific to hear Professor Rogers present this new model.

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