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Rice U. conference to explore music's role in human cognition and behavior
Date:2/5/2009

Rice University's Shepherd School of Music will bring together distinguished scientists, composers and musicians to discuss music's role in human cognition and behavior for the Exploring the Mind Through Music conference March 27-29. Aimed at increasing the dialogue between musicians and scientists, the conference events are free and open to the public.

The Shepherd School conference aims to be a trendsetter in encouraging neuroscientists and musicians to interface and share their latest findings and research.

"We hope this will serve as a catalyst for deepening the collaboration between musicians and scientists," said Anthony Brandt, organizer of the conference. "We see this as the first step to something bigger -- something that may help further the research and enable us to gain new insights into ourselves."

The top researchers from this burgeoning field of mind and music will present their work on topics ranging from congenital amusia (tone-deafness) to synesthesia to functional brain organization in relation to music.

"I expect to see some new collaborations forming as these experts discuss their work and experiences," said Brandt, associate professor of composition and theory at Rice. "Perhaps musicians will become advisers on research studies or neuroscientists will investigate the importance of early childhood music education, assess the importance of the arts in our mental and social development and consult on such issues as productive and efficient practicing habits."

Brandt's own interests focus on how classical music can offer insights into the mind, the limits of language and the elusive connections between thought and feeling. He has studied how music with cyclic structure -- a main idea repeating in its entirety either identically or with variations -- creates a predictability ideal for social situations. Classical music features musical statements broken into smaller fragments and reassembled in new
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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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