Last updated: 2021.11.25
Research
The research of the Music Cognition Group (MCG) has a special focus on the everyday listener, using theoretical, empirical and computational methods. The research program aims to identify the basic neurocognitive mechanisms that constitute musicality (and effective ways to study these in human and nonhuman animals) and to develop methods to unravel the cognitive, biological and environmental mechanisms that underpin our capacity for music.
Over the years it has become clear that we all share a predisposition for music, just like we have for language. Even those of us who can’t play a musical instrument or lack a sense of rhythm can perceive and enjoy music. We will refer to this unique predisposition, in all its complexity, as 'musicality', defined as a natural, spontaneously developing set of traits that are based on and constrained by our cognitive abilities and its underlying biology. As such, 'music', in all its diversity, can be defined as a social and cultural construct that is built on this musicality (Honing et al., 2015)
Overview of research projects over the last 10 years:
  • What are the cognitive and biological building blocks of musicality? (KNAW-Muller chair and Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship, 2010-2014)
  • What are the cognitive mechanisms and neurological correlates of rhythm perception? (UvA-CSCA, 2011-2015)
  • What are the music structural and cognitive components that contribute to the memory, recall and transmission of melodies? (NWO-CATCH and KNAW-Tunes & Tales, 2012-2016)
  • What is shared (and what unique) in music versus language processing? (NWO-Horizon, 2013-2017)
  • Cognition, Biology and the Origins of Musicality (2017-...)
Musicality    

In the coming years (2022-2025) we will focus on the following research questions:
  1. What are the core cognitive components of musicality?
  2. What are the biological and environmental factors contributing to musicality?

  3. NWO Musicality is an ability that nearly all human beings possess: a set of traits that allows us to appreciate music. This research aims to identify these constituent traits by means of a series of listening experiments in the form of engaging memory-based games. N.B. Were are currently looking for a PhD and Postdoc to contribute to this project. See more info here.
    Read full research proposal here...

  4. What computational mechanisms and neural networks underly temporal expectations?

  5. ABC LogoOne core component, that currently gets special attention, is beat perception, using complementary evidence from computational modelling and neuroimaging.
    Read more ...

  6. How does music differ from other sounds, such as language and environmental sounds?

  7. Another unresolved question is what is shared between music and language. For this we use the speech-to-song illusion.
    Read more ...

    And last but not least, we study everyday listening by developing listening games to find out about how listeners hear music, how their listening style compares to others, and providing a place where the music industry can test new ideas with the forefront of music cognition research:

  8. What do everyday listeners attend to when they listen to music?
  9. Read more ...
Current Funding
  • NWO Open Competition - SSH Unravelling our capacity for music: The contour hypothesis (2022-2025)
    Read more ...
  • UvA-ABC Project How temporal expectations shape musical experience in the human brain (2021-2023)
    Read more ...
  • KNAW-Pilotfonds Wetenschapscommunicatie Iedereen is muzikaal: Wat muziekcognitieonderzoek kan zeggen over de alledaagse luisteraar (2021-2022)
    Read more ...
  • Platform Digitale Infrastructuur (PDI-SSH) A flexible and sustainable infrastructure for MUSic-related Citizen Science Listening Experiments [MUSCLE] (2022-2024)
    Read more ...
Past Funding / Main Grants
  • NWO-Horizon Knowledge and Culture | New Methods for the Humanities: Empirical, Computational and Mathematical advances (2013-2019)
    Read more ...
  • NWO-CATCH COGITCH (COgnition Guided Interoperability beTween Collections of musical Heritage) (2012-2015)
    Read more ...
  • KNAW-Computational Humanities Tunes & Tales. Modeling Oral Transmission (2012-2015)
    Read more ...
  • UvA-CSCA The role of neural plasticity in conscious perception (2011-2015)
    Read more ...
  • NIAS/Lorentz Center Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship (2013-2014)
    Read more ...
  • KNAW-Hendrik Muller chair (2010-2013)
    Read more ...
  • EU-COST TIMELY (Network Grant) (2010-2013)
    Read more ...
  • NWO-GW Music matters: On music and the cognitive sciences (2008-2009)
    Read more ...
  • EU FP6-IST Emergent cognition through active perception (EmCAP), a three-year research project in the field of music cognition (2005-2008)
    Read more ...
  • NWO-STW Practice Space: exploration and training of music performance skills (realized at RU, 2005-2009)
    Read more ...
  • NWO-GW Foundations of the Humanities: a cognitive revolution in musicology (2005-2007)
    Read more ...
  • EU FP5-IHP MOSART: European network on music technology (2001-2003)
  • NWO-GW/MAGW Music Mind Machine (MMM) PIONIER project (1997-2003)
    Read more ...
  • NWO-STW Quantization of temporal patterns by neural networks (1997-2001)
  • NWO-SION Disclosure of large musical databases using a metric for temporal patterns (1997-1998)
  • KNAW A formalism for knowledge representation in music (1992-1997)



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