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Journal Article

Depth and the uncertainty of statistical knowledge on musical creativity fluctuate over a composer’s lifetime


Daikoku,  Tatsuya
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Daikoku, T. (2019). Depth and the uncertainty of statistical knowledge on musical creativity fluctuate over a composer’s lifetime. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 13: 27. doi:10.3389/fncom.2019.00027.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-64FE-F
Brain models music as a hierarchy of dynamical systems that encode probability distributions and complexity (i.e., entropy and uncertainty). Through musical experience over lifetime, a human is intrinsically motivated in optimizing the internalized probabilistic model for efficient information processing and the uncertainty resolution, which has been regarded as rewords. Human’s behavior, however, appears to be not necessarily directing to efficiency but sometimes act inefficiently in order to explore a maximum rewards of uncertainty resolution. Previous studies suggest that the drive for novelty seeking behavior (high uncertain phenomenon) reflects human’s curiosity, and that the curiosity rewards encourage humans to create and learn new regularities. That is to say, although brain generally minimizes uncertainty of music structure, we sometimes derive pleasure from music with uncertain structure due to curiosity for novelty seeking behavior by which we anticipate the resolution of uncertainty. Few studies, however, investigated how curiosity for uncertain and novelty seeking behavior modulates musical creativity. The present study investigated how the probabilistic model and the uncertainty in music fluctuate over a composer’s lifetime (all of the 32 piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven). In the late periods of the composer’s lifetime, the transitional probabilities (TPs) of sequential patterns that ubiquitously appear in all of his music (familiar phrase) were decreased, whereas the uncertainties of the whole structure were increased. Furthemore, these findings were prominent in higher-, rather than lower-, order models of TP distribution. This may suggest that the higher-order probabilistic model is susceptible to experience and psychological phenomena over the composer’s lifetime. The present study first suggested the fluctuation of uncertainty of musical structure over a composer’s lifetime. It is suggested that human’s curiosity for uncertain and novelty seeking behavior may modulate optimization and creativity in human’s brain.