The two readings I have assigned come from two different perspectives within the field of music cognition, the psychologist’s perspective (represented by Janata and colleagues) and the music theorist’s (represented by Martens). I consider both to be good examples of how experimental methods can enhance the study and theorizing of music.
At the same time, doing research at the boundary of two fields is not an easy task, and music cognition still faces many challenges, not the least of which is to find ways of bridging the methodological and conceptual gap between the different disciplines involved (psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience on one hand, and musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology on the other) while cultivating questions that are sophisticated and relevant to all involved.
In reviewing these studies, focus first on the question that is identified by the researchers and how this question is operationalized into a testable hypothesis (i.e., how each element of the question is mapped onto some observable and measurable feature related to the phenomenon that is being investigated). Is the operationalization reasonable? What are the findings? How do the authors relate the findings back to the original question? What are some of the limitations of the experimental study that are identified by the authors?
Then, reflect on the question, findings, and limitations of the study from the perspective of your home discipline. Is the question relevant to your research? How might you use its findings? How might these two studies benefit from knowledge and know-how from your field of study? Conversely, how might your research (and your home discipline) benefit from the methods exemplified by these studies?
You might summarize one of the two studies, compare the two studies, or respond to one or more of the guiding questions. You might also imagine how you might collaborate with one of these researchers for a follow-up study. What would your study look like? What might be discussed in a “lab” meeting with the authors? Finally, you might also use your experience as a participant in the online experiments from my course to illustrate your points.
Post a response to the readings on the Forum blog by Sunday, November 24, 11:59 PM; post a response to one or more of your colleagues’ posts soon thereafter.