How We Hear and Experience Music: A Bootstrap Theory of Sensory Perception

How We Hear and Experience Music: A Bootstrap Theory of Sensory Perception

Robert C. Ehle (University of Northern Colorado, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0480-1.ch008
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Abstract

This chapter examines occurrences and events associated with the experience of composing, playing, or listening to music. First it examines virtual music, and then recounts an experiment on the nature of pitch and psychoacoustics of resultant tones. The final part discusses the prenatal origins of musical emotion as the case for fetal imprinting.
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Background

At the end of the 19th century, Ernst Haeckel summarized the biogenetic law in a phrase, ‘ontology recapitulates phylogeny’ and posed that the fetal growth and development goes through stages resembling the stages of animals in evolutionary history. In his 1871 book, The Descent of Man Charles Darwin (2004) proposed a view, confirmed later by the evolutionary developmental biology, that early embryonic stages resemble embryonic stages of previous species but not the adult stages of these species. Charles Darwin’s theory has been extensively discussed and attacked.

In 1960s Paul McLean (1990) formulated the triune brain model of the vertebrate forebrain evolution and behavior. According to then acclaimed model, the triune brain comprises three sequentially evolved structures. First was the primitive reptilian complex, and then followed the paleomammalian complex including the limbic system consisting of a number of separate components: the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the amygdala, among them. Further on, the neomammalian complex (neocortex) was added to the forebrain. The parts of Maclean’s triune brain develop sequentially in the human fetus or child; specifically before birth, a human being does not yet have a developed cerebral cortex but is able to learn general sensory and emotional things in their limbic system. The limbic system along with the sense organs is said to have begun to function in the third trimester of gestation and so is available to do this task. Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven (2012) presented in The Archaeology of Mind the neural mechanisms of affective expression in mental processes, brain functions, and emotional behaviors characteristic of all mammals to locate.

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