The neurobiological basis of musical expectations

Laurel J. Trainor and Robert J. Zatorre

in Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199298457
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The neurobiological basis of musical expectations

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  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article explores how the auditory system processes incoming information and generates perceptual representations that allow it to make predictions about future sound events from past context, and how music appears to make use of this general processing mechanism. It focuses on expectation formation in auditory cortex because this is where the most research has been done, but there is also evidence for prediction mechanisms at subcortical levels and at levels beyond sensory areas. The article presents a framework for thinking about the neurological basis of expectation and prediction in musical processing using selected examples.

Keywords: auditory system; auditory processing; perceptual representations; music; expectation formation; auditory cortex; prediction; musical processing

Article.  8018 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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