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Authors: Williams, Jamal A
Advisors: NormanHasson, KennethUri A
Contributors: Neuroscience Department
Subjects: Neurosciences
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: How does music structure our ongoing experience of the world? The fact that music dynamically unfolds over time and significantly affects our cognitive-emotional state situates music at an ideal position to study event cognition and its neurological basis. Music exists in every known human society in the world and, furthermore, our brains may even contain specialized machinery for processing music. These two points suggest that music is ancient in the evolutionary sense and also suggests that music has been prioritized in human civilization for millennia. Therefore, music may serve as a key tool for understanding important aspects of how our brains operate in the real-world. This thesis proposes that real-world music is unique in its ability to drive event processing mechanisms in cortex and that it can be used to either verify important findings in the field or teach us something entirely new about event cognition altogether. In chapter 1 of this thesis, I will discuss what we can gain from employing real-world music in our efforts to better understand cognition. In chapter 2, I will present experimental work investigating how high-level musical events are represented in cortex and compare these findings to recent work on event segmentation using other naturalistic stimuli, such as movies and stories. In chapter 3, I will present another study investigating how music repetition in the context of a full-length film influences cortical activity patterns that in turn influence memory for the film events. Finally, in chapter 4, I will discuss the novel contributions of this work, offer suggestions for future research, and then attempt to connect the insights derived from the studies presented throughout the thesis. My hope in this thesis is that I can provide future researchers a framework for using real-world music in experimental paradigms aimed at understanding the neural basis of cognition. I also hope to encourage researchers to address questions pertaining to what we can learn about music in its own right. Given music’s rich and ancient history, by employing it as a research tool, we can simultaneously gain insights about the mysteries of the mind, as well as the mystery of music itself.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Neuroscience

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