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Music, Passion, and Cognitive Function - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128094617, 9780128096963

Music, Passion, and Cognitive Function

1st Edition

Author: Leonid Perlovsky
Paperback ISBN: 9780128094617
eBook ISBN: 9780128096963
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 25th February 2017
Page Count: 202
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Music, Passion, and Cognitive Function examines contemporary cognitive theories of music, why they cannot explain music’s power over us, and the origin and evolution of music. The book presents experimental confirmations of the theory in psychological and neuroimaging research, discussing the parallel evolution of consciousness, musical styles, and cultures since Homer and King David.

In addition, it explains that 'in much wisdom is much grief' due to cognitive dissonances created by language that splits the inner world. Music enables us to survive in this sea of grief, overcomes discomforts and stresses of acquiring new knowledge, and unifies the soul, hence the power of music.

Key Features

  • Provides a foundation of music theory
  • Demonstrates how emotions motivate interaction between cognition and language
  • Covers differentiation and synthesis in consciousness
  • Compares the parallel evolution of music and cultures
  • Examines the idea of music overcoming cognitive dissonances


Graduate students and researchers in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, affective neuroscience, and music theory

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Theories of Music

  • Abstract
  • Music Is a Mystery
  • Theories of Musical Emotions and Music Origins
  • 2500 Years of Western Music and Prescientific Theories (From Pythagoras to the 18th Century)

Chapter 2. Mechanisms of the Mind: From Instincts to Beauty

  • Abstract
  • Concepts, Instincts, Emotions, and Behavior
  • The Knowledge Instinct and Aesthetic Emotions
  • The Hierarchy of the Mind and the Emotions of the Beautiful

Chapter 3. Language and Wholeness of Psyche

  • Abstract
  • The Dual Hierarchy of Cognition and Language
  • Differentiation and Synthesis

Chapter 4. Music

  • Abstract
  • Differentiated Knowledge Instinct
  • Cognitive Dissonances and Musical Emotions

Chapter 5. Experimental Tests of the Theory: Music

  • Abstract
  • The Fox and the Grapes With Music
  • Do Students Suffer During Tests and Could Music Help?
  • Consonant and Dissonant Music Versus Cognitive Interference
  • Music and Academic Performance
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Can Experiments Confirm a Theory? Physics of the Mind

Chapter 6. Experimental Tests of the Theory: Beauty and Meaning

  • Abstract
  • Aesthetic Chills
  • Results (Shortened)
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion

Chapter 7. Music and Culture: Parallel Evolution

  • Abstract
  • Empirical Evidence in History
  • Role of Music in Cultural Evolution From King David to “Know Thyself”
  • Music and Consciousness in Ancient Greece
  • Tonal Organization Since 250,000 BCE
  • Synthesis and Differentiation During Early Christianity and Middle Ages
  • Individuation: The Renaissance, Reformation, and Bach
  • Classicism and Rationality
  • Split Soul: Romanticism
  • Consciousness and Music in the 20th Century
  • Consciousness, Music, and Culture

Chapter 8. Musical Emotions and Personality

  • Abstract
  • A Controversy in Perception of Musical Emotion
  • Personality Types and Emotion Perception
  • Love at First Sight, Divorce, and Choice of Profession
  • Music and Emotions
  • Number of Emotions
  • Conclusion

Chapter 9. Other Aesthetic Emotions

  • Abstract
  • Kantian Aesthetics
  • Musical Emotions
  • Emotions of Cognitive Dissonances
  • Emotions of Prosody and Cultures
  • Aesthetics of Poetry, Literature, and Visual Perception

Chapter 10. Future Research and Summary

  • Abstract
  • Aesthetic Emotions
  • Summary


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2017
25th February 2017
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Leonid Perlovsky

Leonid Perlovsky

Dr. Leonid Perlovsky is Professor at Northeastern University Psychology Department and jointly at Engineering Department, also CEO LP Information Technology, past Visiting Scholar at Harvard Medical School Athinoula Martinos Brain Imaging Center, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Technical Advisor and Principal Research Scientist at the AF Research Lab. Together with colleagues around the world he creates a new area of science Physics of the Mind that turns psychology into "hard science". Physics of the mind has explained wide areas of psychology not previously understood including conscious and unconscious, has predicted unexpected psychological phenomena many of which have been experimentally proven in most prestigious labs around the world; experimental tests and theoretical aspects of physics of the mind open a wide area for future research.

Among revolutionary successes of physics of the mind are cognitive-mathematical modeling of several fundamental psychological areas that have resisted mathematical modeling for decades, including perception and cognition, neural mechanisms of abstract concepts, interaction of cognition and language (unresolved since Chomsky), cognitive functions of aesthetic emotions (misunderstood since Kant), cognitive functions of emotions of the beautiful, mechanisms of the high meaning, interactions between beautiful and meaning, cognitive functions of musical emotions, and the reasons why music affects us so much - what Darwin called the greatest mystery.

Dr. Perlovsky has created a mathematical foundation for physics of the mind, a new area of cognitive mathematics, dynamic logic, which overcomes computational complexity preventing mathematical modeling of the mind since the 1960s. He served as Chief Scientist at Nichols Research, a $500mm high-tech DOD contractor, as professor at Novosibirsk University and New York University; as a principal in commercial startups. His company predicted 9/11 market crash a week before the event and supported the SEC investigation. He is invited as a keynote plenary speaker and tutorial lecturer worldwide, including most prestigious venues such as the Nobel Forum at Karolinska Institutet; authored more than 500 publications. He organizes international conferences and serves on the Boards of professional societies.

"Music: Passions and Cognitive Functions" is his most recent book. He has founded and serves as Editor-in-Chief for “Physics of Life Reviews,” the IF=9.5, ranked #3 in the world among 84 journals in biophysics. He received prestigious awards including the INNS Gabor Award, and the John McLucas Award, the highest US Air Force Award for basic research. In 2016 he has been appointed Professor at St Petersburg Peter the Great Polytechnic University.

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University; Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, USA


"In laying out a theory with such explanatory power, one should be expected to meticulously detail the previous literature, discussing in depth why previous theories should be discounted. Surprisingly, Perlovsky dismisses many of the theories rather offhandedly." --PsycCritiques Vol 62 No. 43

"This excellent book offers unique cognitive explanations confirmed in experiments…Professor Perlovsky demonstrates that music helps overcome cognitive dissonances, unify the inner world, survive in a sea of grief, and continue cultural evolution." --Professor Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre, Laval University, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

"The only theory explaining power of music, its cognitive mechanisms, and making predictions confirmed by experiments is described in this book. Cognitive musicology becomes a "hard" science." --Professor Nobuo Masataka, Kyoto University

Ratings and Reviews