Listening to jazz improvisations: How the brain detects spontaneity in music performance
Research report (imported) 2010 - Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
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.