Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Further support for the Gradual Audiomotor Evolution (GAE) hypothesis?

Chimpanzees (left: Chloe, right: Cleo) conducting a finger-tapping task.
Recently four chimpanzees –all born at the Primate Reserach Institute, Kyoto University–  participated in a finger-tapping experiment, using a paradigm that have been explored for decades with humans (Repp, 2005). Two chimps, Chloe and Cleo, showed signs of synchronization, according to a study that just came out in Scientific Reports (Yu & Tomonaga, 2015). Although the results may have limitations in generalizing to chimpanzees as a species, this might be further evidence for the Gradual Audiomotor Evolution (GAE) hypothesis (Merchant & Honing, 2014).

[See also earlier blog entry]

ResearchBlogging.orgMerchant, H., & Honing, H. (2014). Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7 (274) 1-8. doi 10.3389/fnins.2013.00274

ResearchBlogging.org Repp, B. (2005). Sensorimotor synchronization: A review of the tapping literature Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12 (6), 969-992 DOI: 10.3758/BF03206433

ResearchBlogging.orgYu, L., & Tomonaga, M. (2015). Interactional synchrony in chimpanzees: Examination through a finger-tapping experiment Scientific Reports, 5 DOI: 10.1038/srep10218

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wat weten we nog niet over muziek en muzikaliteit? [Dutch]

Tot 1 mei a.s. kan iedereen via onderstaande website een vraag stellen aan de wetenschap. De overheid is voornemens de komende jaren zo'n 40 tot 50% van haar onderzoeksbudget aan deze vragen besteden. Er staan momenteel echter nog nauwelijks vragen over muziek tussen. Dat moet beter kunnen, toch?

Wat je daaraan kunt doen: a) Formuleer een wetenschappelijke vraag die naar jouw inschatting in de huidige wetenschappelijke literatuur nog niet (of nog niet goed genoeg) is beantwoord. b) Voeg een motivatie / toelichting toe (max. 200 woorden, alsook enkele kernwoorden: muziek, cognitie, hersenen, onderwijs, cultuur, etc). c) Upload je vraag naar: https://vragen.wetenschapsagenda.nl/.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Interested in a PhD at the Faculty of Science?

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) currently has a PhD position available at the Faculty of Science (4 years full-time) starting on 1 September 2015. 

Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, musicology and philosophy. Applications are invited from excellent candidates wishing to conduct research in a research area within ILLC that fits naturally in the Faculty of Science. For more information, see here

Deadline for applications is 05 May 2015.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Can one trace the origins of musicality?

Update: the complete issue on Musicality (12 papers) is free to download in March 2015. See website Phil Trans B for details.

[Press release of the UvA; Dutch|English]

Why do we have music? And what enables us to perceive, appreciate and make music? The search for a possible answer to these and other questions forms the backdrop to a soon-to-be released theme issue of Philosophical Transactions, which deals with the subject of musicality. An initiative of Henkjan Honing, professor of Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), this theme issue will see Honing and fellow researchers present their most important empirical results and offer a joint research agenda with which to identify the biological and cognitive basis of musicality.

Researchers have long been wary of the notion that music might have a biological basis. Music was originally viewed as a cultural artifact and as something that in evolutionary terms has existed for too short a period to have shaped human perception and cognition. The question is whether it is at all possible to gain insight into the evolution of cognition, and by extension music cognition. Sceptics argue that the necessary proof will never be found because cognition doesn't fossilise (i.e. it is impossible to obtain the requisite evidence).

Music or musicality?
Honing, who is the driving force behind the theme issue, argues that the origin of musicality can most definitely be discovered by using a bottom-up approach in which one looks for the basic mechanisms that combine into a complex trait – in this case musicality. Honing: 'Many studies on the biological origin of music are centred on the question of how to define music. This raises the question, for example, whether birdsong and the song structure of humpback whales can be considered music. To address such issues effectively, however, it is important to distinguish between the notions of music and musicality. Musicality in all its complexity can be defined as a natural, spontaneously developing set of traits based on and constrained by our cognitive and biological system. Music in all its variety can be defined as a social and cultural construct based on that very musicality. This distinction allows us to search for the different constituent aspects that form the basis for the phenotype musicality.'

This bottom-up strategy serves as the starting point for a new research agenda that has been drawn up by Honing and a consortium of international experts from a wide range of disciplines, including musicology, computational cognition, anthropology and psychology. According to Honing, such a 'multicomponent' perspective on musicality will help to emphasise the latter's constituent capacities, development and neural cognitive specificity, and will throw light on the origins and evolution of musical behaviour.

Bringing together global expertise
The forthcoming theme issue of Philosophical Transactions is a direct result of a Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship that was awarded to Honing last year by the Lorentz Center and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS). This fellowship allowed Honing to bring together over twenty internationally renowned experts from the fields of cognition, biology and musicality. The theme issue will contain 11 articles on topics such as the biological basis for individual differences in musicality, the origins of musicality across species, and the principles of structure building in music, language and animal song.

The world's oldest scientific journal
As the world's longest-running scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – which this year celebrates its 350th anniversary – publishes high-quality theme issues on topics of current importance and general interest within the life sciences. Some of its most notable contributors have included Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and, more recently, Stephen Hawking.

ResearchBlogging.orgHoning, H., ten Cate, C., Peretz, I., & Trehub, S. (2015). Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 (1664), 20140088-20140088 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0088

ResearchBlogging.orgGingras, B., Honing, H., Peretz, I., Trainor, L., & Fisher, S. (2015). Defining the biological bases of individual differences in musicality Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 (1664), 20140092-20140092 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0092

ResearchBlogging.orgFitch, W. (2015). Four principles of bio-musicology Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 (1664), 20140091-20140091 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0091

ResearchBlogging.org Hoeschele, M., Merchant, H., Kikuchi, Y., Hattori, Y., & ten Cate, C. (2015). Searching for the origins of musicality across species Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 (1664), 20140094-20140094 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0094

The complete theme issue (12 papers) can be found here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Do an MA in Music Studies in Historic Amsterdam?

Do you want to become a Master in Music Studies at the University of Amsterdam? Find out more on our Music Studies website and go to the registration page. Deadline: 1 April 2015.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Can we borrow your ears?

The Music Cognition Group is continuously looking for participants in their experiments. See our website if you want to contribute.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Without it no music?

Cover picture of the March issue of  Philosophical Transactions B.

A short entry to announce a theme issue on Musicality in Philosophical Transactions B (celebrating this year its 350th anniversary). Online 2 February 2015 and in print on 19 March 2015.

ResearchBlogging.orgHoning H, ten Cate C, Peretz I, & Trehub SE (2015, in press). Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 370 (1664). 10.1098/rstb.2014.0088

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

SMART Cognitive Science: the Amsterdam Conference

The SMART Cognitive Science Conference will be hosted by the University of Amsterdam from March 25-28th, 2015. It will consist of 6 exciting workshops (each 2 full days, with 3 in parallel) on the cognitive science of music, language, communication and art, and a common evening program with debates and plenaries, and will be free to attend.

For more information and free registration see smartcs.humanities.uva.nl. 

N.B. There are also some interesting pre-conference events, such as an ABC lecture by Tecumseh Fitch (Vienna) on The Syntax of Mind: Dendrophilia and Human Cognition.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Difference between the GAE and VL hypothesis?

Summary diagrams of vocal systems in songbirds, humans, monkeys, and mice. 
(Figure 1 from Petkov & Jarvis in Ackermann et al., 2014).

Today a commentary was published in BBS in which the gradual audiomotor evolution (GAE) hypothesis (Honing & Merchant, 2014) is proposed as an alternative interpretation to the auditory timing mechanisms discussed in the target article by Ackermann et al. (2014).

While often a link is made between vocal learning (VL) and a species' auditory timing skills (e.g., 'entrainment'), the GAE and VL hypotheses show the following crucial differences.

First, the GAE hypothesis does not claim that the neural circuit that is engaged in rhythmic entrainment is deeply linked to vocal perception, production, and learning, even if some overlap between the circuits exists.

Second, the GAE hypothesis suggests that rhythmic entrainment could have developed through a gradient of anatomofunctional changes on the interval-based mechanism to generate an additional beat-based mechanism, instead of claiming a categorical jump from non-rhythmic/single-interval to rhythmic entrainment/multiple-interval abilities.

Third, since the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic (CBGT) circuit has been involved in beat-based mechanisms in imaging studies, we suggest that the reverberant flow of audiomotor information that loops across the anterior pre-frontal CBGT circuits may be the underpinning of human rhythmic entrainment.

Finally, the GAE hypothesis suggests that the integration of sensorimotor information throughout the mCBGT circuit and other brain areas during the perception or execution of single intervals is similar in human and nonhuman primates.

ResearchBlogging.orgAckermann, H., Hage, S., & Ziegler, W. (2014). Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-84 DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X13003099
ResearchBlogging.orgHoning, H., & Merchant, H. (2014). Differences in auditory timing between human and non-human primates. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27(6), 557-558 DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X13004056. [Alternative link: http://www.mcg.uva.nl/papers/Honing-Merchant-2014.pdf ]
ResearchBlogging.orgMerchant, H., & Honing, H. (2014). Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7 (274) 1-8. doi 10.3389/fnins.2013.00274