Nicole Calma-Roddin, NY Institute of Technology, John Frederick Bailyn, Stony Brook University, Samuel Jay Keyser, MIT

Cog-A: Topics in Cognitive Science and Art

Nicole Calma-Roddin (New York Institute of Technology) John Frederick Bailyn (Stony Brook University)

Part 1. Music and the MInd (Nicole Calma-Roddin, NY Institute of Technology & John Frederick Bailyn, Stony Brook University, July 1, 4, 6)

Many of us have strong musical memories: We can recognize many songs, we have songs that bring us back to specific times in our lives, and we may have learned the alphabet, grammatical rules, or other information using songs when we were children (or adults). Among other topics, in this mini-course, we will discuss some basic concepts about memory from the perspective of cognitive psychology, some aspects of musical memory specifically, and discuss a recent study applying musical memory in the real world (in a college statistics course).  

Part 2. On Repetition in Art (Samuel Jay Keyser, MIT, July 8, 11, 13)

In her book On Repeat (2013 Oxford University Press, Oxford, England) Elizabeth Helmuth Margulis describes an experiment that led her to conclude: "The simple introduction of repetition, independent of musical aims or principles, elevated people’s enjoyment, interest, and judgments of artistry. This suggests that repetition is a powerful  and often underacknowledged aesthetic operative."

In these lectures I begin with a description of the Margulis experiment.  I go on to explore the role of repetition in the sister arts of music, poetry and painting. I conclude with the claim that priming, a psychological phenomenon rooted in repetition of abstract representations, is the reason for the aesthetic pleasure experienced  by the subjects in the Margulis’ experiment and is, in fact, s major source of the pleasure engendered in all of us by the sister arts.