Music Cognition

We have currently two running lines of research within music cognition:  music memory and music perception.

Our music memory research looks at whether and under what conditions various prominent effects in memory apply when using musical materials.  One quite interesting example is the levels-of-processing (LOP) effect which is known to be one of the most robust and well-documented effects in memory.  Interestingly, this effect, which is observed with words, pictures, faces, environmental sounds, speech etc. , is hard to document when using musical material.  As such, musical materials appear to be the one and only exception so far known in the domain of LOP research.  The questions here are:  Why is music special?  Does deep/conceptual processing have no effect whatsoever or do we need to take finer measures of memory?  How does tune familiarity affect LOP manipulations?

Our music perception line of research, which we just started in 2012, focuses on music segmentation.  Again a well-known universal phenomenon in perception are the Gestalt principles.  We investigate whether they apply to makam music as well.  In other words, we are particularly interested at the moment in the following questions:  Do people, trained and not trained in makam music, segment unknown makam fragments in similar ways?  If so, what are the guiding principles of their segmentations? How similar or different are they from the Gestalt laws of organization which so directly apply to Western music based on tonal hierarchical structures.

An Example of Makam Music 

If you are interested in learning more about our research on music memory and music perception, here are some relevant references:

Music Memory

Peynircioğlu, Z. F., Mungan, E., & Schwartz, B. L.  Challenges in music memory research.  Otani, H., & Schwartz, B. L. (submitted).  Research methods in Human memory research.  Routledge Press.

Mungan, E., Peynircioğlu, Z. F., & Halpern, A. R. (2011).  Levels-of-processing effect on remember responses in recognition for familiar and unfamiliar melodies.  American Journal of Psychology, 124(1), 37-48. [pdf]

Mungan, E. (2007).  Effect of Encoding Processes on Explicit and Implicit Remembering of Melodies.  Unpublished doctoral dissertation, American University (ISBN: 9781109873290). [pdf]

Music Perception

Yörük, H., & Mungan, E. (2017).  Statistical summary representations in music-like perception.  In E. van Dyck (Ed.), Proceedings of the 25th Anniversary Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (pp. 167-170), IPEM, Ghent University. [pdf]

Mungan, E., Yazıcı, Z. F., Kaya, M. (U.). (2017).  Perceiving Boundaries in Unfamiliar Turkish Makam Music:  Evidence for Gestalt Universals?  Music Perception, 34, 267-290. SSCI [pdf]

Kaplan, E. C., Yazıcı, Z. F., & Mungan, E. (2016, July).  Knowledge-Based Expectation Effects on Pitch Perception: A cross-cultural and ERP Investigation.  Poster presented at the 14th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, San Francisco, CA, USA. [poster]

Lartillot, O., Z. F. Yazıcı, & Mungan, E. (2013).  A more informative segmentation model, empirically compared with state of the art on traditional Turkish music. In P. van Kranenburg, C.  Anagnostopoulou, and A. Volk (Eds.)., Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis (pp. 63-70), Amsterdam: Meertens Institute, Utrecht: Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University. [pdf]