Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation (MIT Press)
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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.
noted earlier, physiologists have identified three classic responses to danger: the fight, flight, and freeze responses. The fight response begins with aggressive posturing and threat displays. The flight response is characterized by a quick increase in arousal, including rapid preparatory respiration. The freeze response is characterized by sudden motor immobility, including breath-holding. My idea should by now be obvious. There is a striking similarity between the fight, flight, and freeze
likely to arise when we realize that the solution to a problem turns out to be massively complex. That is, frisson accompanies the experience of “gaining command” over a problem. Awe accompanies the experience of “losing command” over a problem. Laughter accompanies the experience of transforming a problem into something trivial. A task as commonplace as solving a crossword puzzle can be the occasion to experience all three such emotions. We might have individual moments of insight. A chuckle may
movements. In addition, a place-based mental representation might integrate information from the visual system to provide a more robust coding. Finally, a mental representation of speed and trajectory can help us better predict location when the sound source itself is in motion. By way of summary, there exist several levels of mental representation for localization. The lowest (unconscious) representational level includes interaural time, amplitude differences, and spectral shape. A higher
they lose their friends, go bankrupt, and live lives in which present-tense joys become increasingly hard to achieve because they are unable to plan ahead. It is important to pause and smell the roses—to relish the pleasures of the moment. But it is also crucial to take the imaginative step of planting and nurturing those roses. If we think of positive and negative feelings as hills and valleys in a complex landscape, the imagination response helps us avoid getting stranded at the top of the
simple frequency of occurrence for scale degrees as phrase-final tones—one for the major key context and another for the minor key context. To these four schemas we might add a fifth: the schema used by listeners to predict what scale degree initiates a melody, as discussed in chapter 4. (In this latter case, no distinction is made between major and minor, since the mode is ambiguous for the first pitch in an unknown melody.) If it is truly the case that the probe-tone method is confounded by