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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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Emotion in Action, Interaction, Music, and Speech

Emotion in Action, Interaction, Music, and Speech

Chapter:
(p.107) 5 Emotion in Action, Interaction, Music, and Speech
Source:
Language, Music, and the Brain
Author(s):

Klaus R. Scherer

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262018104.003.0005

This chapter highlights the central role of emotion in understanding the relationships between action, interaction, music, and speech. It is suggested that brief nonverbal displays of emotion (affect bursts) may have played an important part in the evolution of human communication based on speech and gesture, and, probably in parallel, singing and music. After a brief account of the evolutionary development of emotion, the nature and architecture of the emotion system is discussed, advocating a componential appraisal model. Particular emphasis is given to the component of motor expression. A dynamic model of emotion communication distinguishes the function of expression as symptom (of actor state), symbol (of a message), and appeal (to the listener), highlights the role of distal and proximal cues in the process, and describes the differential types of coding (biological push vs. sociocultural pull) of the expressive signs. A brief overview of research on vocal emotion expression in speech and music provides evidence for the similarity of the expressive cues used to convey specific emotions. A distinction is proposed between utilitarian emotions, which help adaptation to relevant events that happen to a person, especially through speech in social interaction, and aesthetic emotions, which are generally desired and sought out through engagement with cultural practices such as music, art, or literature. In conclusion, some evidence supporting the proposal that affect bursts might have been the starting point for the joint evolution of language and music is reviewed. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   emotion system, evolution of language and music, speech, action, gesture, music, singing, componential appraisal model, motor expression

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