When listening to music the human brain independently guesses the next note

Have you ever accidentally dropped your headphones while listening to music? What happens when the music stops? Psychologists believe that while listening to music our brain constantly predicts what will happen next. However, the expectations of the brain will be different depending on the musical experience of a person.

Researchers Marcus Pearce (Marcus Pearce), Ceren Wiggins (Geraint Wiggins) and Joydeep Bhattacharya (Joydeep Bhattacharya) along with his colleagues from goldsmiths College, University of London have demonstrated that our expectations when listening to music can depend on what kind of music we listened to throughout his life. Music, like language, has its own “grammar” and rules that define the sequence of notes. “The question is, whether incorporated these rules into the system of recognition of auditory information, or these rules are placed in our brain unconsciously, while listening to music for life,” said pierce.

The researchers asked 40 people to listen to the melody of the hymn (without words) and then asked subjects how unexpected they found certain notes. They developed two computational models that mimicked the human brain while listening to music. The first model was based on strict rules that define the sequence of notes, and the second – on the brain’s ability to learn independently and to deduce these rules from my experience.

The results of the study showed that a statistical model of the brain is more correct than a model focused on strict rules. The percentage of guessing was higher among musicians and also among those for whom this tune was already familiar. In the second experiment, the scientists removed the performance of the brain from the other 20 people who listened to the same hymn. Although in this experiment the participants did not say anything about the location of the expected and unexpected notes, scientists noticed that the brain activity in the control points was markedly different. The brain’s response to unexpected notes caused a synchronization of different brain centers responsible for movement and handling of emotions. Thus, as noted by Bhattacharya, music really makes us worry.

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