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Re: music listening styles

Your observation bring ups some interesting thoughts....
When you say that you have difficulty with language tasks, do you notice any difference when you listen to purely instrumental versus vocal music?  I can see the difficulty with listening to vocal music and still trying to engage in another linguistic task, but not much with purely instrumental.  I personally do not have that difficulty, but I have "mixed dominance" and have no problem listening to several auditory tasks at once.
There was research done at Stanford Medical where MRIs were done while subjects were listening to symphonic music and investigate the neural dynamics of event segmentation.

Here is the reference:
"Neural Dynamics of Event Segmentation in Music: Converging Evidence for Dissociable Ventral and Dorsal Networks."  Devarajan Sridharan, Daniel J. Levitin, Chris H. Chafe, Jonathan Berger and Vinod Menon.  Neuron  Volume 55, Issue 3, 2 August 2007, Pages 521-532

Harriet B. Jacobster, Au.D.
Board Certified Doctor of Audiology


Rachel M. Theodore wrote:
Dear All ---

I share Professor Repp's concern that personal anecdotes will interfere with the empirical basis of the original query - so I will follow my anecdote with a potential framework in which to quantify emotional experience during musical listening.

As a classical pianist, I too find it quite difficult to engage in cognitive tasks when music is in the environment.  Most notably, I have difficulty with language tasks including writing - but also talking and listening (a problem indeed when music is played at departmental functions).  I've often wondered if this interference stems from the fact that my formal training as a pianist began at the same time I began formal training in reading - around the age of 5 years.  I wish I could remember how I was able to separate learning a label such as "b" and knowing that it was a symbol not only for a pitch but also a character in the alphabet.  I wonder if the perceptual phenomena experienced by early bilinguals would hold if the bilingual in question was fluent in spoken language and in music.

In returning to the original post - I think that Larry Barsalou at Emory University is doing some neat work on situated conceptualization - his framework might provide a basis for exploring the experience of emotion during the perception of music.  If conceptual knowledge is grounded in the brain's modal systems for perception and action, then we should be able to observe activity across emotion centers and auditory perception centers when listening to music "emotionally".  

Thank you ---



Rachel M. Theodore
NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellow
Psychology Department - 125 NI
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115

617.373.5551 (phone)
617.373.8714 (fax)