Listening to jazz improvisations: How the brain detects spontaneity in music performance

Research report (imported) 2011 - Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Authors
Engel, Annerose; Keller, Peter E.
Departments
Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe Musikkognition und Handlung
Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften, Leipzig
Summary
The ability to recognize the actions of other people as spontaneous or planned is an important pre-requisite for understanding and reacting to their behavior. Musical improvisation provides a valuable domain in which to study the neural bases of this ability. Experienced jazz musicians can detect whether or not a melody is improvised by merely listening to it. New results suggest that a brain structure known as the amygdala, which has been implicated in the detection of behavioral uncertainty, is sensitive to the degree of spontaneity in musical performance.

For the full text, see the German version.

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