Auditory expectation: the information dynamics of music perception and cognition

Top Cogn Sci. 2012 Oct;4(4):625-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2012.01214.x. Epub 2012 Jul 30.


Following in a psychological and musicological tradition beginning with Leonard Meyer, and continuing through David Huron, we present a functional, cognitive account of the phenomenon of expectation in music, grounded in computational, probabilistic modeling. We summarize a range of evidence for this approach, from psychology, neuroscience, musicology, linguistics, and creativity studies, and argue that simulating expectation is an important part of understanding a broad range of human faculties, in music and beyond.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticipation, Psychological / physiology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Creativity
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Esthetics
  • Humans
  • Information Theory
  • Learning / physiology
  • Memory / physiology
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Music*
  • Pitch Perception / physiology