Mechanisms of Musical Memory in Infancy
This chapter summarizes the recent findings suggesting that as previously observed in the language domain, infants possess powerful memory abilities that allow them to represent myriad aspects of their musical environments. These memories provide a corpus of musical experiences from which infants can begin to acquire the structures that characterize their native musical systems. While the primary focus is on music, the literature on infant speech and language perception are used in order to suggest avenues of overlap and difference, and as a source of potentially fruitful areas for future study. The chapter begins by reviewing the infant music perception and possible relationships with speech perception. It introduces the idea of long-term memory for music in infancy. In general, there is a surprising level of similarity in infant memory representations for music and for language. The results lend further support to an emerging picture of infants as remarkably adept at implicitly learning and remembering the structured information that characterizes the environment in which they develop.
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