Implicit learning is a core process for the acquisition of a complex, rule‐based environment from mere interaction, such as motor action, skill acquisition, or language. A body of evidence suggests that implicit knowledge governs music acquisition and perception in nonmusicians and musicians, and that both expert and nonexpert participants acquire complex melodic, harmonic, and other features from mere exposure. While current findings and computational modeling largely support the learning of chunks, some results indicate learning of more complex structures. Despite the (...) body of evidence, more research is required to support the cross‐cultural validity of implicit learning and to show that core and more complex music theoretical features are acquired implicitly. (shrink)
The past 15 years have witnessed an increasing interest in the comparative study of language and music as cognitive systems. This book presents an interdisciplinary study of language and music, exploring the following core areas - structural comparisons, evolution, learning and processing, and neuroscience.
The cognition of music, like that of language, is partly rooted in enculturative processes of implicit and incidental learning. Musicians and nonmusicians alike are commonly found to possess detailed implicit knowledge of musical structure which is acquired incidentally through interaction with large samples of music. This paper reports an experiment combining the methodology of artificial grammar learning with musical acquisition of melodic structure. Participants acquired knowledge of grammatical melodic structures under incidental learning conditions in both experimental and untrained control conditions. (...) Subsequent analysis indicates a large effect of unsupervised online learning in the experimental and control group throughout the course of the testing phase suggesting an effective ongoing learning process. Musicians did not outperform nonmusicians, indicating that musical expertise is not advantageous for the learning of a new, unfamiliar melodic system. Confidence ratings suggest that participants became aware of the knowledge guiding their classification performance despite the incidental learning conditions. (shrink)
Musical knowledge is largely implicit. It is acquired without awareness of its complex rules, through interaction with a large number of samples during musical enculturation. Whereas several studies explored implicit learning of mostly abstract and less ecologically valid features of Western music, very little work has been done with respect to ecologically valid stimuli as well as non-Western music. The present study investigated implicit learning of modal melodic features in North Indian classical music in a realistic and ecologically valid way. (...) It employed a cross-grammar design, using melodic materials from two modes that use the same scale. Findings indicated that Western participants unfamiliar with Indian music incidentally learned to identify distinctive features of each mode. Confidence ratings suggest that participants' performance was consistently correlated with confidence, indicating that they became aware of whether they were right in their responses; that is, they possessed explicit judgment knowledge. Altogether our findings show incidental learning in a realistic ecologically valid context during only a very short exposure, they provide evidence that incidental learning constitutes a powerful mechanism that plays a fundamental role in musical acquisition. (shrink)
Why should music be of interest to cognitive scientists, and what role does it play in human cognition? We review three factors that make music an important topic for cognitive scientific research. First, music is a universal human trait fulfilling crucial roles in everyday life. Second, music has an important part to play in ontogenetic development and human evolution. Third, appreciating and producing music simultaneously engage many complex perceptual, cognitive, and emotional processes, rendering music an ideal object for studying the (...) mind. We propose an integrated status for music cognition in the Cognitive Sciences and conclude by reviewing challenges and big questions in the field and the way in which these reflect recent developments. (shrink)
Music can be interpreted by attributing syntactic relationships to sequential musical events, and, computationally, such musical interpretation represents an analogous combinatorial task to syntactic processing in language. While this perspective has been primarily addressed in the domain of harmony, we focus here on rhythm in the Western tonal idiom, and we propose for the first time a framework for modeling the moment‐by‐moment execution of processing operations involved in the interpretation of music. Our approach is based on (1) a music‐theoretically motivated (...) grammar formalizing the competence of rhythmic interpretation in terms of three basic types of dependency (preparation, syncopation, and split; Rohrmeier, 2020), and (2) psychologically plausible predictions about the complexity of structural integration and memory storage operations, necessary for parsing hierarchical dependencies, derived from the dependency locality theory (Gibson, 2000). With a behavioral experiment, we exemplify an empirical implementation of the proposed theoretical framework. One hundred listeners were asked to reproduce the location of a visual flash presented while listening to three rhythmic excerpts, each exemplifying a different interpretation under the formal grammar. The hypothesized execution of syntactic‐processing operations was found to be a significant predictor of the observed displacement between the reported and the objective location of the flashes. Overall, this study presents a theoretical approach and a first empirical proof‐of‐concept for modeling the cognitive process resulting in such interpretation as a form of syntactic parsing with algorithmic similarities to its linguistic counterpart. Results from the present small‐scale experiment should not be read as a final test of the theory, but they are consistent with the theoretical predictions after controlling for several possible confounding factors and may form the basis for further large‐scale and ecological testing. (shrink)