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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Aesthetic responses to music are a hallmark of musical experiences. Philosophers have wrestled with the nature and meaning of aesthetic responses for centuries, but recently neuroscientists have joined the fray. Neuroaesthetics is the investigation of brain mechanisms underpinning aesthetic experiences. Music psychologists have provided foundational support, such as Berlyne’s work in experimental aesthetics, and now neuroscientists are identifying brain mechanisms involved in such aspects of an aesthetic experience as focused concentration, music perception and cognition, affective responses, and socio-cultural aspects. A number of investigators have identified the orbitofrontal cortex as a key player in aesthetic responses. As they continue to make progress, neuroscientists may be closer to fulfilling Seashore’s prognostication about scientific aesthetics: “It will be sympathetic to philosophical or artistic speculation, but will chasten them by verifying or condemning them by critical analysis” (1947, p. 381).

Keywords: aesthetics, neuroscience, neuroaesthetics, experimental aesthetics, music perception, music cognition, musical emotions

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