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Conference by Dr. Nori Jacoby

A Global Survey of Rhythm Representations

Pavillon Marie-Victorin, Room D-451

Abstract:  Over the past few years, cross-cultural comparative work has made various claims about the universality of aspects of music, aesthetic preferences, and emotion (Fritz 2009, Brown & Jordania 2013, Savage et al. 2015). However, recent work suggests that features that were previously regarded as universal — such as consonance / dissonance or rhythm perception — may in fact be at least partially determined by culture (McDermott et al. 2016; Jacoby & McDermott 2017). We have accordingly initiated the Global Survey of Rhythm Representation, a multicultural collaborative project that aims to elucidate the roles of biology and culture in the study of simple rhythms. The survey is based on a novel paradigm we developed that is nearly entirely independent of verbal description, and can therefore be applied irrespective of the participant’s musical or cultural background. The cultures we investigated span a wide range of geographical and demographic conditions as well as linguistic and musical structures. This talk presents preliminary results collected with over 30 collaborators, from over 700 participants hailing from Botswana, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, India, Japan, Mali, Turkey, Uruguay, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.



Bio: Nori Jacoby is a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. Nori explores the role of culture in auditory perception using iterated learning alongside classical psychophysical methods to characterize perceptual biases in music and speech rhythms in populations around the world.  Other work has focused on the mathematical modeling of sensorimotor synchronization in the form of tapping experiments as well as the application of machine-learning techniques to model aspects of musical syntax, including tonal harmony, birdsong, and the perception of musical form. Previously, he was a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University, a postdoctoral fellow at the McDermott Computational Audition Lab at MIT,  and a visiting postdoctoral researcher in Tom Griffiths’s Computational Cognitive Science Lab at Berkeley. He completed his Ph.D. at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and holds a M.A. in mathematics from the same institution. His research has been published in journals including Current Biology, Nature, Nature Scientific Reports, Philosophical Transactions B, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Vision, and Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.


Nov 01 2018


10:30 am - 12:00 pm




Pavillon Marie-Victorin, Room D-451
90, ave. Vincent-d'Indy

BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research) is a unique laboratory dedicated to research excellence in the study of music and auditory cognition with a focus on neuroscience. BRAMS is located in Montreal and jointly affiliated with the University of Montreal and McGill University.


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