Thursday, January 13, 2022

Interested in developing a Music Related Citizen Science Infrastructure?

Are you looking for a challenging job in a dynamic interdisciplinary team? The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is looking for an enthusiastic and experienced back-end engineer, contributing to the development of a flexible and sustainable infrastructure for MUSic-related Citizen Science Listening Experiments (MUSCLE). The project is funded by a PDI-SSH grant awarded to the Music Cognition Group (MCG) at the ILLC. 

More information on how to apply for the position (3 years, 0.5 fte) can be found here

Deadline for applications is 15 February 2022.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Why do we value music so much; Are there biological or social explanations for this?

Below a recording of a recent, one hour+ edition of BètaBreak –made by Frank Gelens, Rianne Verhaegh, and hosted by Spui25– about what musicality entails, what its biological underpinnings in the brain are, and why we all have musical abilities.

"The ability to perceive rhythm, tones and beats, key components of musicality, seems to be universal across humans and manifests itself already from a young age; something that this edition’s guest endorses (Honing, 2018). Is there an underlying mechanism in our brain that makes this possible? Could our preferences in music have a biological explanation? Furthermore, is musicality also present in other species or is it a human trait?"

Honing, H. (2018). On the biological basis of musicality. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (The Neurosciences and Music VI: Music, Sound and Health). doi: 10.1111/nyas.13638.

For another episode of BètaBreak/Spui25 with Frans de Waal on the topic of beauty, see here (with snippets on music/ality too).

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Waarom kan jouw partner niet dansen? [Dutch]

"Sta je eindelijk weer eens met je partner op de dansvloer, gaat hij nog voor het einde van het eerste nummer op je tenen staan. Hij voelt zich schuldig en jij bent teleurgesteld, want jij wil ook weleens romantisch over de dansvloer zwieren. Maar waarom kan jouw partner dat niet? Heeft-ie een slecht ritmegevoel?" 

In deze Universiteit van Amsterdam lezing geeft cognitief neurowetenschapper Fleur Bouwer (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Music Cognition Goup Associate) antwoord op die vraag.


Bouwer, F.L., Honing, H., & Slagter, H. A. (2020) Beat-based and memory-based temporal expectations in rhythm: similar perceptual effects, different underlying mechanisms. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(7), 1221-1241. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01529 

Honing, H., & Bouwer, F. L. (2019). Rhythm. In Rentfrow, P.J., & Levitin, D. (ed.), Foundations in Music Psychology: Theory and Research. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. ISBN 9780262039277.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

What makes music catchy?

Often you only need to hear a few seconds of music, to recognize a song. There's a good chance it was a very catchy tune. Computational musicologist Ashley Burgoyne (Music Cognition Group, University of Amsterdam) reveals what makes a song catchy.

Burgoyne, J. A., Bountouridis, D., Balen, J. van, & Honing, H. (2013). Hooked: A Game For Discovering What Makes Music Catchy. In A. De Souza Britto, F. Gouyon, & S. Dixon (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (pp. 245–250). Curitiba, Brazil. [pdf]

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Geïnteresseerd om student-assistent (SA) te worden bij MCG? [Dutch]

Ben je student aan de UvA en op zoek naar een interessante bijbaan binnen de universiteit? De muziekcognitiegroep (MCG) is op zoek naar een student-assistent (SA) voor een wetenschapscommunicatieproject waarin een kennis- en luisterspel wordt ontwikkeld. 

MCG heeft dit jaar een prijs van de KNAW ontvangen om een kennis- en luisterspel te ontwikkelen met als doel te laten zien dat luisteraars muzikaler zijn dan dat ze zelf denken. Dit onder de titel Iedereen is muzikaal: Wat muziekcognitieonderzoek kan zeggen over de alledaagse luisteraar.

Doel van dit project is het bijeenbrengen van bestaande luistertestjes en demonstraties uit de verschillende publiekslezingen en media-optredens van MCG.

Op basis hiervan zal een aantrekkelijk en motiverend spel worden ontworpen; een spel dat feedback geeft over je luistertalenten, je voorkeuren en die een relatie legt met de bestaande wetenschappelijke literatuur. Doelgroep is iedereen die van muziek houdt en wil begrijpen hoe onze relatie met muziek in elkaar zit. 

Meer weten? 

Zie de advertentie, en hoe te solliciteren, op deze link

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

What is your position in the BBS discussion on the origins of music/ality? [update]

This blog-entry adds some analyses and visualizations related to the topic of the origins of music/ality as discussed in a recent issue of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS; cf.  Mehr et al., 2021; Savage et al., 2021).

Fig. 1 shows the outcome of a short questionnaire, that was send to the 60 commentary writers in BBS, with the request to rate their own position w.r.t. the two target articles on a five point scale from Strongly Critical to Strongly Supportive (N.B. We received 49 responses):

Fig. 1a: Individual ratings from the BBS Commentary Authors (N=49). Numbers/size show the amount of votes. N.B. An interactive version, linking the individual ratings to the Commentaries, is shown below.

Fig. 1b: Individual ratings from the BBS Commentary Authors (N=49).
Numbers/size: amount of votes; Color: support for one or the other position.
N.B. Click on the figure to run the interactive version
, linking the individual ratings to the Commentaries. [Alternative figures, data, and source code at GitHub]

Fig. 2 below shows the rating provided by Savage et al. (2021), where two raters judged the positions of all commentaries on the same two dimensions (but on a continuous scale):

Fig. 2: Ratings from Savage et al. (2021: Figure R1).
[Source code and data at GitHub]

Furthermore, we also did some simple numerical comparisons between the data presented in Fig. 1 and 2. The main observations are:

  1. For the Social Bonding hypothesis there is an agreement* between ratings shown in Fig. 1 and those of Fig.2 of .62 (Rater 1/Authors) and .69 (Rater 2/Authors). As such, the raters did a relatively good job in estimating the authors positions. 
  2. For the Credible Signalling hypothesis the agreement* was .51 (Rater 1/Authors) and .56 (Rater 2/Authors), suggesting the raters did less well in estimating the authors positions.

*Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC). Note that resolution of both ratings (Fig. 1 and 2) differ, which could affect the results.

Fig 3. shows the results on the question whether this two-dimensional representation was considered adequate by the commentary authors:

Fig. 3: In how far are the two dimensions sufficient to capture your position (N=49)? [Alternative figures, data, and source code at GitHub]

[Credits: Visualizations by Bas Cornelissen; Stats by Atser Damsma]

Mehr, S., Krasnow, M., Bryant, G., & Hagen, E. (2021). Origins of music in credible signaling. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 44, E60. doi:10.1017/S0140525X20000345

Savage, P., Loui, P., Tarr, B., Schachner, A., Glowacki, L., Mithen, S., & Fitch, W. (2021). Music as a coevolved system for social bonding. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 44, E59. doi:10.1017/S0140525X20000333

Honing, H. (2021). Unravelling the origins of musicality: Beyond music as an epiphenomenon of language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 44, E78. doi:10.1017/S0140525X20001211

Monday, November 01, 2021

Interested in reading what music cognition is (or could be) about?

Music Cognition: The Basics (Routledge, 2021) considers the role of our cognitive functions, such as perception, memory, attention, and expectation in perceiving, making, and appreciating music.  (N.B. Use code SMA09 to get 20% 0ff.)

This volume explores the active role these functions play in how music makes us feel; exhilarated, soothed, or inspired. Grounded in the latest research in areas of psychology, biology, and cognitive neuroscience, and with clear examples throughout, this book concentrates on underappreciated musical skills such as sense of rhythm, beat induction, and relative pitch, that make people intrinsically musical creatures — supporting the conviction that all humans have a unique, instinctive attraction to music.

"Insights from one of the leading researchers working at the intersection of music, psychology, and computer science."  

Dan Levitin, author of This is your brain on music 

"A graceful and precise introduction into the intricacy of what ordinary humans manage to learn about music, naturally and automatically, just by listening."

Gary Marcus, author of Guitar Zero 

"Honing demonstrates that ordinary listeners, whether children or adults, are a lot more musically savvy than they think they are."

Sandra Trehub, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Interested in a 4 year PhD in Amsterdam?

Are you looking for a PhD position where you can combine insights from music cognition, cognitive behavioral ecology, and cognitive science? If you are excited about doing this kind of research in an interdisciplinary environment, with a team of smart and friendly colleagues, then you may want to join us.

All information on the research project and how to apply can be found here.

Deadline for applications is 1 November 2021.

Interested in a 3 year Postdoc in Amsterdam?

Are you looking for a postdoctoral position where you can combine insights from music cognition with psychometrics and cognitive science? If you are excited about doing this kind of research in an interdisciplinary environment, with a team of smart and friendly colleagues, then you may want to join us.

All information on the research project and how to apply can be found here.

Deadline for applications is 1 November 2021.


Friday, October 01, 2021

Hou je van podcasts? [Dutch]

Hou je van podcasts? Hier onder vier recentelijk verschenen afleveringen over het thema 'muzikale dieren'. 

Een headbangede zeeleeuw of een dansende kaketoe: er zijn genoeg voorbeelden van muzikale dieren te vinden op het internet. Maar zijn ze ook net zo muzikaal als mensen?