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learning the melodies, timbres, and rhythms unique to the music and language of one’s culture begins already within the mother’s womb during the third trimester of human development. We review evidence that the intrauterine auditory environment plays a key role in shaping later auditory development and musical preferences. We describe evidence that externally and internally generated sounds influence the developing fetus, and argue that such prenatal auditory experience may set the trajectory for the development of the musical mind.

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According to a new study by Kawakami et al. (2013), sad music is enjoyable because it creates an interesting mix of emotions; some negative, some positive. In their study, they found that: “…the sad music was perceived to be more tragic, whereas the actual experiences of the participants listening to the sad music induced them to feel more romantic, more blithe, and less tragic emotions than they actually perceived with respect to the same music.” (more…)

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Pursuing literary immortality illuminates how the mind works

by Dec. 13, 2012

So the artist, musician or author’s challenge is to create a work that retains a freshness, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Michael Clune, in his new book, Writing Against Time (Stanford University Press). And, for the artist, musician or writer, creating this newness with each work is a race against “brain time.”

Clune explains how neurobiological forces designed for our survival naturally make interest in art fade. But the forces don’t stop artists from trying for timelessness. (more…)

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Taylor Swift game theory: Strategy in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Lovelorn teens can relate. You’re in an on-and-off again relationship with someone who promises to change but never does. Finally, you’ve had it and you call it off, permanently.

You tell them, we won’t get together tomorrow, the next week, the next month, the next year, the next decade, or the next time ever. That’s it: We are never ever getting back together.

The threat may be commonly uttered, but it is far from a simple statement. In fact, I suggest this ultimatum is an illustration of several game theory concepts. And while the threat often uttered as a lie, it is an effective lie. (more…)

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The efficacy of musical emotions provoked by Mozart’s music for the reconciliation of cognitive dissonance

 A recent hypothesis suggested that a fundamental function of music has been to help mitigating cognitive dissonance, which is a discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions simultaneously. It usually leads to devaluation of conflicting knowledge…Results of our experiment reveal that the exposure to Mozart’s music exerted a strongly positive influence upon the performance of young children and served as basis by which they were enabled to reconcile the cognitive dissonance. (more…)

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ScienceDaily (June 12, 2012) — Ever wonder why Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” moved so many people in 1969 or why the music in the shower scene of “Psycho” still sends chills down your spine?

A UCLA-based team of researchers has isolated some of the ways in which distorted and jarring music is so evocative, and they believe that the mechanisms are closely related to distress calls in animals.

“Music that shares aural characteristics with the vocalizations of distressed animals captures human attention and is uniquely arousing,” (more…)

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 Much of the gathered evidence points towards:

  • an important degree of conventionalism,
  • in the sense of blockage or no-evolution,
  • in the creation and production of contemporary western popular music.

Thus, from a global perspective, popular music would have no clear trends and show no considerable changes in more than fifty years (more…)

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