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MENC Handbook of Research on Music LearningVolume 1: Strategies$
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Richard Colwell and Peter R. Webster

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386677

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195386677.001.0001

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Biological and Environmental Factors in Music Cognitionand Learning

Biological and Environmental Factors in Music Cognitionand Learning

(p.173) 5 Biological and Environmental Factors in Music Cognitionand Learning
MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning

Steven M. Demorest

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the historical debate of the role nature versus nurture in the knowledge people acquire through experiences. It looks into the debate's significance in the study of music learning, and the developments which led to scientists exploring simultaneously how human biology constrains one's experience of the world. It provides a sampling of more recent research in the fields of aural perception, music cognition perception, and the neurobiology of music cognition, and discusses how their findings shape the way educators approach music teaching and learning. It investigates how a person's implicit understandings of music are shaped by enculturation, and how this can aid students through potential challenges of cross-cultural musical understanding. It also highlights research on amnesia, an inability to hear or retain certain kinds of musical information, and emphasizes at recent discoveries on studies on a rare form congenital amnesia that prevents people from developing normal musical competence.

Keywords:   nature, nurture, music learning, biology, aural perception, music cognition perception, music cognition neurobiology, enculturation, congenital amnesia, musical competence

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