Preferred Music (10-22-19)

Gold and colleagues establish that with music, as with other sensory stimuli, sometimes not straying too far from expectations is best.  The researchers found that “as music manipulates patterns of melody, rhythm, and more, it proficiently exploits our expectations. Given the importance of anticipating and adapting to our ever-changing environments, making and evaluating uncertain predictions can have strong emotional effects. Accordingly, we present evidence that listeners consistently prefer music of intermediate predictive complexity, and that preferences shift towards expected musical outcomes in more uncertain contexts.”  

Benjamin Gold, Marcus Pearce, Ernest Mas-Herrero, Alain Dagher, and Robert Zatorre. “Predictability and Uncertainty in the Pleasure of Music:  A Reward for Learning?  JNeurosci, in press, https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0428-19.2019