Prediction and Reward Learning in Music, and Implications for Neurodegenerative Disease
Prediction learning is considered a ubiquitous feature of biological systems that underlies perception, action, and reward. For cultural artifacts such as music, isolating the genesis of reward from prediction is challenging, since predictions are acquired implicitly throughout life. I will present recent work that combines cross-cultural behavioral testing, neuropsychological assessments, and neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI) studies in my lab on how and why humans across societies learn to love music, uncovering the role of different types of prediction on reward. These results are the first to highlight the hierarchical, relatively culturally-independent process by which predictions map onto reward. Given that music taps into a relatively domain-general reward system which in turn motivates a variety of cognitive behaviors, I will also consider how this knowledge can be translated into music-based interventions for those with neurological and/or psychiatric disorders, presenting preliminary results on Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
Dr. Loui is an Associate Professor at Northeastern University.