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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

A central thesis of this chapter is that biological and cultural aspects of musical experiences are inextricably intertwined. Cultural neuroscience is a field of study concerned with investigating relationships between culture and brain, as expressed in a culture–behavior–brain loop model.Accordingly, musical practices of any given culture must adapt to neural constraints and contrarily, the brain adapts to cultural practices. Genetic instructions and environmental experiences interact in the development of musical expertise. The neural plasticity of the brain is likewise a factor of gene–environment interactions, as evidenced in such processes as neural pruning and myelination. Infant musical behaviors are an amalgam of genetic predispositions and learning experiences. The search for music universals and cross-cultural music research also provide evidence for cultural and biological influences. Virtually nothing about musical experiences is purely biological or purely cultural.

Keywords: cultural neuroscience, biology, culture, genetic instructions, environmental experiences, neural pruning, myelination, music universals, cross-cultural music research

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