Ircam, 9th June 2016
Speaker: Aniruddh D. Patel (Tufts University)
Aniruddh (Ani) Patel is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies the relationship between music and language. He uses a range of methods in this research, including brain imaging, theoretical analyses, acoustic measurements, and comparative work with other species. Patel has served as president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, and has published over 70 research articles and a scholarly book, Music, Language and the Brain (2008, Oxford). He is a Professor of Psychology at Tufts University.
Title: Music, language, emotion, and the brain: a cognitive neuroscience perspective
Speech and instrumental music are very ancient, with the earliest known instruments dating to at least 40,000 years ago. These two forms of expression have many salient differences, including their acoustic structure, the way in which they express meaning, and their role in human life. Early neurological research suggested that the mind processes speech and instrumental music largely independently. However, this view is increasingly being challenged by modern studies. Such studies, which draw on a broad array of methods, point to a surprising degree of sharing and interaction between the cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in perceiving speech and instrumental music. It increasingly seems that part of the emotional power of instrumental music derives from its ability to tap into brain mechanisms that process emotion in spoken language.