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Front Psychol. 2011 Sep 9;2:211. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00211. eCollection 2011.

Implicit memory in music and language.

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  • 1Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University Evanston, IL, USA.


Research on music and language in recent decades has focused on their overlapping neurophysiological, perceptual, and cognitive underpinnings, ranging from the mechanism for encoding basic auditory cues to the mechanism for detecting violations in phrase structure. These overlaps have most often been identified in musicians with musical knowledge that was acquired explicitly, through formal training. In this paper, we review independent bodies of work in music and language that suggest an important role for implicitly acquired knowledge, implicit memory, and their associated neural structures in the acquisition of linguistic or musical grammar. These findings motivate potential new work that examines music and language comparatively in the context of the implicit memory system.


artificial grammar learning; implicit memory; language; music

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