fourMs Forum: Patel-Grosz and Laeng
The fourMs Forum is a monthly research seminar for anyone interested in the topics of Music, Mind, Motion and Machines.
Bruno Laeng (Psychology)
Music-induced aesthetic ‘‘chill” responses or peak emotional experiences characterized by positive feelings that tend to reach peak intensity at precise moments during musical listening of familiar, especially favorite, musical pieces. The phenomenon is apparently very common but idiosyncratic and can occur with any type of musical genre. In a recent study performed in the cognitive laboratories at the Department of Psychology, young participants listened to self-chosen musical pieces versus control musical pieces chosen by other participants. Chills were reported more frequently for self-selected songs than control songs. The eye pupils’ diameters were concurrently measured by an eye-tracker while the participants listened to each of the songs. Pupils dilated significantly within specific time-windows around the chill events, as reported by key responses made at the time point of a chill. These findings strongly suggest that music chills can be visible in the moment-to-moment changes in the size of pupillary responses and implicate a role for the neuromodulatory function of the brain’s central norepinephrine system in peak emotional, aesthetic, experiences."
Recent linguistic research has extended the application of formal syntactic and semantic methodology to non-linguistic phenomena such as music and dance. The overarching goal is to understand the underlying cognitive building blocks that language shares with other aspects of human cognition. Our ongoing research on the semantics of dance focuses on bharatanatyam, a South Indian narrative dance form. By virtue of video and motion capture recording, we explore the possibilities of encoding co-reference and disjoint reference in this dance form.