Abstract Marcus Pearce 23 May 2013

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From Expectation to Emotion: Modelling Predictive Processing in Music Perception

Musicologists such as Hanslick and Meyer pointed towards the importance of expectation for the emotional experience of music, and Meyer suggested the possibility that expectations are built upon cognitive representations of musical styles as probability systems. However, there has been surprisingly little empirical work to establish these hypotheses. The present goal is to understand the psychological processes involved in the acquisition and generation of expectations and associated emotional responses, using dynamic probabilistic models of expectation in cognitive processing of musical structure. I will present dynamic probabilistic models of melodic prediction that use variable-order contexts, long- and short-term musical structure and combine information from multiple musical features in predicting note attributes such as pitch, onset time and duration. The predictions of these models have been tested in empirical studies, which have shown that the expectedness of notes is related to their probability, and uncertainty about the next note is related to the entropy estimated by the model. Finally, very recent research has established a quantitative link between note probabilities and psychological and physiological emotional responses to music in a live concert setting.

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