Saturday, June 05, 2010

Complex nonlinguistic auditory processing?

Quite an impressive phrase, not? It was quoted in a recent interview with Ani Patel in the New York Times, and attributed to one of the most prominent researchers in the neuroscience of music:
"Robert Zatorre never used the word music in a grant application. He knew it would get turned down automatically because people thought this was not scientific. Instead, he used terms like 'complex nonlinguistic auditory processing.' Luckily, in recent years, it’s become O.K. to say: I study music and the brain." 
Still, these days it is not uncommon that reviewers of ambitious research proposals request a description of the implications of the proposed research beyond music. As an example, I was recently urged by a (high profile) reviewer to explain the potential impact of my proposal to the domain of linguistics (and language in general). This as an important validation of the research programme... I look forward to the time that a language researcher will be asked to state what the implications are of his/her research programme for the science of music :-) Until that time we need people like Robert Zatorre and Ani Patel as ambassadors of the field. They do a great job!

ResearchBlogging.orgZatorre, R. (2005). Music, the food of neuroscience? Nature, 434 (7031), 312-315 DOI: 10.1038/434312a

1 comment:

DSmith said...

The brain is a physical system. Consciousness is a result of multidimensional learning in order to resonate with our environment - to stay alive, seek stimulus and comfort.

Language related learning can present a greater depth of abstraction, and is generally more complex, than music learning. Language learning represents a higher order of consciousness.

But you can't tell lies with music, so the resonance is cleaner, less noise. This is why music research is valuable to understanding consciousness.

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