Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary effort to understand the structures and functions of the brain and brain-mind relations. This effort results in an increasing amount of data, generated by sophisticated technologies. However, these data enhance our descriptive knowledge, rather than improve our understanding of brain functions. This is caused by methodological gaps both within and between subdisciplines constituting neuroscience, and the atomistic approach that limits the study of macro- and mesoscopic issues. Whole-brain measurement technologies do not resolve these issues, but rather (...) aggravate them by the complexity problem. The present article is devoted to methodological and epistemic problems that obstruct the development of human neuroscience. We neither discuss ontological questions nor review data, except when it is necessary to demonstrate a methodological issue. As regards intradisciplinary methodological problems, we concentrate on those within neurobiology and psychology. As regards interdisciplinary problems, we suggest that core disciplines of neuroscience can be integrated using systemic concepts that also entail human-environment relations. We emphasize the necessity of a meta-discussion that should entail a closer cooperation with philosophy as a discipline of systematic reflection. The atomistic reduction should be complemented by the explicit consideration of the embodiedness of the brain and the embeddedness of humans. The discussion is aimed at the development of an explicit methodology of integrative human neuroscience, which will not only link different fields and levels, but also help in understanding clinical phenomena. (shrink)
Performing and listening to music occurs in specific situations, requiring specific media. Empirical research on music listening and appreciation, however, tends to overlook the effects these situations and media may have on the listening experience. This article uses the sociological concept of the frame to develop a theory of an aesthetic experience with music as the result of encountering sound/music in the context of a specific situation. By presenting a transdisciplinary sub-field of empirical studies, we unfold this theory for one (...) such frame: the classical concert. After sketching out the underlying theoretical framework, a selective literature review is conducted to look for evidence on the general plausibility of the single elements of this emerging theory and to identify desiderata. We refer to common criticisms of the standard classical concert, and how new concert formats try to overcome alleged shortcomings and detrimental effects. Finally, an empirical research program is proposed, in which frames and frame components are experimentally manipulated and compared to establish their respective affordances and effects on the musical experience. Such a research program will provide empirical evidence to tackle a question that is still open to debate, i.e., whether the diversified world of modern-day music listening formats also holds a place for the classical concert – and if so, for what kind of classical concert. (shrink)
In this theoretical study we explore the concept of intentional-ity. Intentionality is the specific reference that mental phenomena have with respect to objects, also termed the 'aboutness' of cognitive acts. We discuss intentionality on the basis of self-organized pattern formation, a ubiquitous phenomenon in complex open systems. Dynamical systems theory provides an understanding of how emergent variables originate from microscopic variables. Control parameters comprise those external parameters and gradients that drive the systems they represent environmental inuences. The relationship between pattern (...) formation and control parameters therefore addresses the functioning of a system in its environment. Our hypothesis is that self-organizing systems exhibit intentionality-like capabilities in their responses to environmental inuences. This is modelled using differential calculus, by which we demonstrate how pattern formation reduces control parameters in an efficient manner. These ideas are applied to the complex system brain, using the Wilson-Cowan equations of axonal pulse rates in neural networks. (shrink)
While presenting this manuscript to art practitioners and art theorists, we noticed that there is great discomfort confronting this topic. Some questions raised were why is such research conducted, what is it good for, and does it impose preconceptions on men and women. Since Bourdieu and Darbel,1 it is widely assumed that sociodemographic factors such as education or profession have an impact on art reception. However, questions of basal sociodemographic factors like sex and age and their influence on art reception (...) are seldom discussed. John Falk, a specialist on museum visitor studies, even states, “Quantitative measures such as demographics provide too little information about visitors in relation to museums to.. (shrink)
Thelen et al. offer an inspiring behavior-based theory of a long-standing cognitive problem. They demonstrate how joining traditions, old and new may open up the path towards embodied cognition. We discuss possible next steps. Self-organization theory could be used to address the formation of gaze/reach attractors and their optimality, given environmental control parameters. Finally, some clinical applications of the field model are advocated.
Nonverbal interpersonal synchronization has been established as an important factor in therapeutic relationships, and the differentiation of who leads the interaction appears to provide further important information. We investigated nonverbal synchrony – quantified as the coordination of body movement between patient and therapist. This was observed in music therapy dyads, while engaged in verbal interaction before and after a music intervention in the session. We further examined associations with patients’ self-reported therapy readiness at the beginning of the session. Eleven neurological (...) in-patients participated in this study. Our results showed an increase in both nonverbal synchrony and patient leading after the music intervention. A significant negative correlation was found between self-reported therapy readiness and nonverbal synchrony after the music intervention. These findings point to the empathic ability of the music therapist to sense patients’ therapy readiness. Higher patient leading in nonverbal synchrony after the music intervention may thus indicate that the music intervention may have allowed dyadic entrainment to take place, potentially increasing self-regulation and thus empowering patients. (shrink)