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Re: Difference between cognition and perception?

Martin Braun wrote:
If you hear a traditional Bulgarian women choir for the first time, the
"contribution of cognitive processes" may be close to zero, because you
might not know any word at all of the alien musical "language". But you will
not doubt that it's music, and you even might like it very much.

First of all, it is very unlikely that you will ever encounter any music
that does not incorporate some sort of melodic, harmonic or rhythmic
pattern that you are familiar with. Second, as the prime aspect of
listening to music probably is that of pattern detection, memory - both of
the recent unfolding events and of stored musical schemas - is active.
Although pattern detection in the Gestalt notion of the term can be
assigned to perception, the process of pattern retrieval from memory is
clearly a matter of cognition. Pattern detection probably moves from
perception to cognition dependent on the level of resolution. Thirdly,
given that listening to music involves a process of pattern comparison
through memory retrieval, the assumption that the brain is cognitively more
passive when confronted with something unknown compared to when the
encountered object is familiar is questionable.

Torleiv Furnes

PhD student
Department of Musicology
University of Oslo