Predictive Processes and the Peculiar Case of Music
Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Nov 2018
Stefan Koelsch, Peter Vuust and Karl Friston
We suggest that music perception is an active act of listening, providing an irresistible epistemic offering. When listening to music we constantly generate plausible hypotheses about what could happen next, while actively attending to music resolves the ensuing uncertainty. Within the predictive coding framework, we present a novel formulation of precision filtering and attentional selection, which explains why some lower-level auditory, and even higher-level music-syntactic processes elicited by irregular events are relatively exempt from top-down predictive processes. We review findings providing unique evidence for the attentional selection of salient auditory features. This formulation suggests that ‘listening’ is a more active process than traditionally conceived in models of perception.