Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation

Paperback | January 25, 2008

byDavid Huron

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The psychological theory of expectation that David Huron proposes in Sweet Anticipation grew out of the author's experimental efforts to understand how music evokes emotions. These efforts evolved into a general theory of expectation that will prove informative to readers interested in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology as well as those interested in music. The book describes a set of psychological mechanisms and illustrates how these mechanisms work in the case of music. All examples of notated music can be heard on the Web.

Huron proposes that emotions evoked by expectation involve five functionally distinct response systems: reaction responses (which engage defensive reflexes); tension responses (where uncertainty leads to stress); prediction responses (which reward accurate prediction); imagination responses (which facilitate deferred gratification); and appraisal responses (which occur after conscious thought is engaged). For real-world events, these five response systems typically produce a complex mixture of feelings. The book identifies some of the aesthetic possibilities afforded by expectation, and shows how common musical devices (such as syncopation, cadence, meter, tonality, and climax) exploit the psychological opportunities. The theory also provides new insights into the physiological psychology of awe, laughter, and spine-tingling chills. Huron traces the psychology of expectations from the patterns of the physical/cultural world through imperfectly learned heuristics used to predict that world to the phenomenal qualia we experienced as we apprehend the world.

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The psychological theory of expectation that David Huron proposes in Sweet Anticipation grew out of the author's experimental efforts to understand how music evokes emotions. These efforts evolved into a general theory of expectation that will prove informative to readers interested in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology as ...

David Huron is Professor of Music and Head of the Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laboratory in the School of Music at Ohio State University and is affiliated with OSU's Center for Cognitive Science.

other books by David Huron

Voice Leading: The Science behind a Musical Art
Voice Leading: The Science behind a Musical Art

Kobo ebook|Aug 26 2016

$38.39 online$49.86list price(save 23%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 9 × 7 × 0.81 inPublished:January 25, 2008Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262582783

ISBN - 13:9780262582780

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A richly detailed theory of how and why the audience has particular expectations and emotions.... A fascinating journey into the inner workings of music and how it tickles the human mind. David Huron draws on evolutionary theory and statistical learning to situate the particular issue of musical expectation within the study of human expectation in general. The result is a widely knowledgeable and engagingly written book that will serve as a landmark in the cognitive science of music.