Music can move us in exceptional and mysterious ways, which may be one of the reasons that music-making has been a part of every human society since the dawn of time. Despite how fundamental music is to human culture, it remains unclear how and why we respond so intensely to what is essentially a collection of sounds unfolding over time. How do certain pieces trigger intense chills and shivers down our bodies, even after repeated listens? Why are we drawn to songs that make us feel sorrow and pain? How is music able to mentally transport us so effortlessly into how we felt in the past? For the past few decades, psychologists and neuroscientists have taken up the challenge of answering some of these questions, using analytical tools that allow for observing changes in cognitive processes and neural activity. While progress has been made, neuroimaging can only take us so far in our endeavor to understand these complex, enigmatic questions. In this seminar, we will explore the link between music and emotions through the lens of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, computational science, and music composition.
Elvira Brattico, Professor of Neuroscience, Center for Music in the Brain, Aarhus University