Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Front Psychol. 2014 Mar 17;5:72. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00072. eCollection 2014.

Dynamic musical communication of core affect.

Author information

1
Music Dynamics Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut Storrs, CT, USA.

Abstract

Is there something special about the way music communicates feelings? Theorists since Meyer (1956) have attempted to explain how music could stimulate varied and subtle affective experiences by violating learned expectancies, or by mimicking other forms of social interaction. Our proposal is that music speaks to the brain in its own language; it need not imitate any other form of communication. We review recent theoretical and empirical literature, which suggests that all conscious processes consist of dynamic neural events, produced by spatially dispersed processes in the physical brain. Intentional thought and affective experience arise as dynamical aspects of neural events taking place in multiple brain areas simultaneously. At any given moment, this content comprises a unified "scene" that is integrated into a dynamic core through synchrony of neuronal oscillations. We propose that (1) neurodynamic synchrony with musical stimuli gives rise to musical qualia including tonal and temporal expectancies, and that (2) music-synchronous responses couple into core neurodynamics, enabling music to directly modulate core affect. Expressive music performance, for example, may recruit rhythm-synchronous neural responses to support affective communication. We suggest that the dynamic relationship between musical expression and the experience of affect presents a unique opportunity for the study of emotional experience. This may help elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying arousal and valence, and offer a new approach to exploring the complex dynamics of the how and why of emotional experience.

KEYWORDS:

affect; consciousness; emotion; musical expectancy; neurodynamics; oscillation; synchrony

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center