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Presentation by Dr. Neil McLachlan

Toward a neurocognitive model of music: the framework, some computational implementations and experimental validation

Abstract: The Object-Attribute model of auditory processing (McLachlan and Wilson, 2010) proposed that recognition mechanisms play a central role in the integration and streaming of auditory features such as pitch. New experimental evidence suggests that dissonance is primarily due to a difficulty in streaming concurrent pitches. The data shows that roughness cannot account for sensory dissonance, and reveals an association between familiarity and dissonance ratings that was stronger for people with high pitch-streaming ability. Pitch-streaming ability improves with training, suggesting that in accordance with the Object-Attribute model, this skill involves the formation of long-term memory templates for musical chords. These memory templates allow information to be streamed and grouped over the multiple filter channels of the auditory system. Further support for this model was found by computational models of recognition and pitch processing mechanisms that predict patterns of pitch jnd, strength and streaming data reported in the literature. The current limitations of these models, new directions for the research, and its implications for music will be discussed.

Bio: Neil McLachlan, Associate Professor, Centre for Music, Mind and Wellbeing, University of Melbourne, Australia has professional experience in music, acoustic design, engineering and in music and auditory neuroscience. He designed the World’s first harmonic bells and harmonic percussion ensembles. To inform these design projects he has developed a large-scale neurobiological model of auditory processing. This model has been computationally implemented for sound recognition and pitch processing and extended for multimodal processing of music information. His current interests include the extension of this model for music and auditory perception more broadly by computational implementation with validation through behavioral and neurophysiological experimentation.


Aug 30 2010


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm




BRAMS, Suite 0-120
1430 boul. Mont Royal, Université de Montréal



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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