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Music is a cultural stimulus that has no obvious adaptive value for the human species, but that nevertheless provokes emotional responses as intense as other stimuli that are biologically relevant. For this reason, music is a privileged medium to study the complex interactions between cognition and emotion. In this article, we will consider the present knowledge from neurosciences and psychology of music that make it possible to better understand these interactions. According to a first viewpoint, the emotional response occurs before cognitive processes can take place. An emotional response can therefore occurs within the first hundredths of a second, when listening to music. We will summarize other studies which, though confirming the extreme speed of emotional responses, suggest that these responses may result from implicit cognitive processes that occur within the first three hundredths of a second. We will describe a methodology that makes it possible to track the time-course of these responses in the brain with great precision. Given the state of research today, we will underline that the extreme speed of cognitive and emotional responses to musical stimuli cannot be fortuitous – for us it indicates the adaptive importance of these stimuli for the human species.
Pour citer cet article :Bigand Emmanuel, Filipic Suzanne (2008/1). Musical Cognition and Emotion. In Sedes Anne (Eds), Music and Cognition, Intellectica, 48-49, (pp.37-50), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2008.1239.