Please join Bilkent University’s Psychology Department on Tuesday for the virtual visit of Asst. Prof. Andrew Goldman.
Speaker: Andrew Goldman. Indiana University
“Neuroscience in Music Research: Critical Challenges and Contributions”
Date: Tuesday, 5 December 2023
This is an online seminar. To obtain event details please send a message to department.
Neuroscientific accounts of music-theoretical topics are increasingly prominent. It is important to critically examine the challenges and contributions of incorporating neuroscience into music studies. Such examination allows for more meaningful integration, and leads to better designed experiments that are appropriately sensitive to the historical and cultural situatedness of the topics they investigate. Here I discuss three contributions and three challenges. The contributions are mechanistic explanations (which identify entities and activities that carry out musical behaviors), comparison (which can unite or distinguish between apparently different or similar behavioral capacities), and consilience (the ability to transfer knowledge across domains of inquiry). The challenges are the problem of defining behavior (musical behaviors are under-defined, complicating the attribution of neural data), reverse inference (a logical fallacy complicating the association between neurophysiology and a musical task), and problems from issues with the cognitive ontology (i.e., the set of fundamental cognitive capacities). Following this theoretical discussion, I apply the six ideas to recent work on improvisation and syntax (including my own), analyzing the work’s value and pitfalls. A final emergent theme from this critical analysis is that music neuroscience makes its best contributions when synthesizing work from other areas of music studies.
About the speaker:
Andrew Goldman is a music theorist and cognitive scientist, and is currently Assistant Professor in Music Theory and Cognitive Science at Indiana University, where he also directs IU’s Music and Mind Lab. He received his PhD in 2015 at the Centre for Music and Science at the University of Cambridge. He was in the inaugural cohort of Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University, and also held a postdoctoral position with the Music, Cognition, and the Brain initiative at Western University before joining the faculty at Indiana University. His research considers how we can use scientific methods to learn about musical perception and cognition in principle, and he also designs and conducts behavioral and neuroscientific experiments with musicians. Goldman’s research has mostly focused on improvisation in music and dance, but he has also worked on a variety of other topics within the field of music cognition. His work has been published in both music and psychology journals, and has been presented at national and international conferences including the Society for Music Theory, the International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, and the American Psychological Association. Goldman is also a pianist and composer. His original musical, “Science! The Musical” provides an alternate platform to explore the worlds of music and science. Musical numbers include “The Interdisciplinary Rag,” “The Real World,” “Publish or Perish,” and more!