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Language, Music, and the BrainA Mysterious Relationship$
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Michael A. Arbib

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262018104

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262018104.001.0001

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Neural Mechanisms of Music, Singing, and Dancing

Neural Mechanisms of Music, Singing, and Dancing

Chapter:
(p.307) 13 Neural Mechanisms of Music, Singing, and Dancing
Source:
Language, Music, and the Brain
Author(s):

Petr Janata

Lawrence M. Parsons

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262018104.003.0013

Song and dance have been important components of human culture for millennia. Although song and dance, and closely related music psychological processes, rely on and support a broad range of behavioral and neural functions, recent work by cognitive neuroscientists has started to shed light on the brain mechanisms that underlie the perception and production of song and dance. This chapter enumerates processes and functions of song that span multiple timescales, ranging from articulatory processes at the scale of tens and hundreds of milliseconds to narrative and cultural processes which span minutes to years. A meta-analysis of pertinent functional neuroimaging studies identifies brain areas of interest for future studies. Although limited by the scope of the relatively small number of studies that have examined song-related processes, the meta-analysis contributes to a framework for thinking about these processes in terms of perception–action cycles. To date, most research on song has focused on the integration of linguistic and musical elements, whether in the binding together of pitch and syllables or, at a more temporally extended level, in the binding of melodies and lyrics. Often this has been with an eye toward the question of whether melodic information facilitates retention of linguistic information, particularly in individuals who have suffered a neurological insult. Evidence supports a view that merging novel linguistic and melodic information is an effortful process, one that is dependent on the context in which the information is associated, with a social context aiding retention. This observation provides an intriguing link between cognitive processes in the individual and the social as well as cultural functions that song and dance ultimately serve. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   neuralfoundations of music, dance, song, neuroimaging, perception, action, narrative

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