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2008-03-05

Invitation: Homo Musicus

The Psychology Department of the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw invites everyone to take part in the lecture conducted in English by Prof. Ellen Dissanayake from the University of Washington. The topic of the lecture: Homo Musicus.

The lecture is going to take place on Tuesday, 18 March 2008, at 17:00, room 406 at the Psychology Department of the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw (Pawia Street No. 55).

Abstract:
Human mothers interacting with infants universally produce unusual vocal, visual, and kinesic signals that are sometimes dismissed as "just babytalk." It is interesting to note, however, that these signals are drawn from common and ordinary behaviors that express affinity in adults (e.g., looking at, smile, open mouth, raised eyebrows, head bob, nods, touches, pats, soft undulant vocal contours) and that they have been "ritualized" - that is, they are formalized, repeated, exaggerated, and elaborated. Ritualized features attract attention, sustain interest, and create and mold emotion. As evolved in the mother-infant engagement, they can be considered "proto-aesthetic" and perhaps even the phylogenetic origin of human musical capacities. Because infants are born prepared to engage in these interactions, indeed to prefer these signals to any others, one could claim that humans are innately prepared to engage in and respond to music.

A short discussion connected with the lecture’s topic is going to take place after the lecture.