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Music in the flesh: Embodied simulation in musical understanding

By Andrea Schiavio, Damiano Menin and Jakub Matyja


The embodied paradigm recently applied to music cognition advocates the crucial role of the agents’ body for musical understanding (Leman, 2007; Reybrouck, 2006). This standpoint holds that a basic form of musical meaning’s ascription is action-based, radically entwined with the level of motor knowledge of the listener or performer (Overy & Molnar-Szakacs, 2009). Traditional music psychology often employs computational models to investigate musical comprehension, where an agent’s mind is seen as a computer that processes the musical signal thanks to species-specific brain mechanisms (Lyon & Shamma, 1996). In contrast, the embodied perspective assumes that cognition depends on processes that are intrinsically connected to the organism’s body, thus being widely distributed beyond the boundaries of the brain (Shapiro, 2010). In this article, we underline the need of deepening such perspective by referring to the closely related notion of Embodied Simulation and have a close look at its main applications in the psychology of music. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved

Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1037/pmu0000052
OAI identifier: oai:iris.unife.it:11392/2366916
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