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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It is unlikely that any specific features of music are universal due to the sheer diversity of music in different cultures and there are logical problems involved in proving universality. Instead, it is more likely that many of the perceptual and cognitive processes that play a role in our experience of music may be widespread. In particular, processes identified as possible universals include: (a) processes which group and segment music at the perceptual level; (b) processes for perceiving and responding to temporal information such as beats; (c) processes resulting in emotional responses to music; and (d) processes involving the mediation of musical experience using long-term memory information (e.g., melodic expectations and statistical learning). However, to have a higher degree of confidence that these processes are universal, research needs to examine these perceptual and cognitive processes in populations more diverse than Western undergraduate students.

Keywords: against universals, cross-cultural, dance, embodied cognition, emotion, memory, multimodal, perception-action, statistical learning, synchronization

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