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Music, memory and cognition: a cybernetic approach

Music, memory and cognition: a cybernetic approach Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an approach to the perception of music and the understanding of memory using cybernetic tools. Design/methodology/approach – The work uses a methodological approach based on realistic evaluation to deploy two well‐established cybernetic models – the viable system model (VSM) and Luhmann's model of social systems – together with Harré's “Positioning Theory” to show how the process of mental construction and perception might be conceived. Drawing on reflections following a musical performance experiment at the American Cybernetics Society Conference in 2010, phenomenal issues of perception and memory are considered against the background of feedback mechanisms with a material and social environment. Findings – The model situates the process of improvising music, the experience of listening to music, and the experience of recalling musical events within the context of a dynamic regulatory mechanism involving individual agents in a material and social environment. Social implications – The paper argues that a model for memory of co‐evolution between agency and environment has ethical and political implications, drawing particularly on recent application of Harré's Positioning Theory. Originality/value – The bringing together of the VSM, Luhmann's theory and Positioning Theory helps to give more definition to the relationship between what Harré terms “engrams” and “exterograms” thus making possible more sophisticated models of distributed cognition. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Kybernetes Emerald Publishing

Music, memory and cognition: a cybernetic approach

Kybernetes , Volume 40 (7/8): 12 – Aug 9, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0368-492X
DOI
10.1108/03684921111160304
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an approach to the perception of music and the understanding of memory using cybernetic tools. Design/methodology/approach – The work uses a methodological approach based on realistic evaluation to deploy two well‐established cybernetic models – the viable system model (VSM) and Luhmann's model of social systems – together with Harré's “Positioning Theory” to show how the process of mental construction and perception might be conceived. Drawing on reflections following a musical performance experiment at the American Cybernetics Society Conference in 2010, phenomenal issues of perception and memory are considered against the background of feedback mechanisms with a material and social environment. Findings – The model situates the process of improvising music, the experience of listening to music, and the experience of recalling musical events within the context of a dynamic regulatory mechanism involving individual agents in a material and social environment. Social implications – The paper argues that a model for memory of co‐evolution between agency and environment has ethical and political implications, drawing particularly on recent application of Harré's Positioning Theory. Originality/value – The bringing together of the VSM, Luhmann's theory and Positioning Theory helps to give more definition to the relationship between what Harré terms “engrams” and “exterograms” thus making possible more sophisticated models of distributed cognition.

Journal

KybernetesEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 9, 2011

Keywords: Music; Cybernetics; Viable system model; Memory; Perception; Distributed cognition

References