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Cross-cultural experimentation by Mind Map: Cross-cultural experimentation
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Cross-cultural experimentation


Balanced designs

Culture A, Participants, Tasks, Materials

Culture B, Participants, Tasks, Materials

Meaningful comparison, compare kind with kind, role, importance, prevalence..., sensitivity of measurement and analysis, requires understanding of both cultures, researchers from both cultures?

Convergent methodology

not specifically for cross-cultural research

strengthen validity by studying phenomenon from multiple viewpoints, behavioural, computational, neural, ...

usually combining modelling and experimenting, formalisation of a system, investigating the cross-cultural variables


view from within

thorough understanding

internal logic of a culture


neutral / outside view, derived / imposed ETIC...

general principles

universal aspects

Topics in music


rhythm, beat vs. tactus, "African rhythm", Pressing: cyclic structures, Agawu: "African rhythm" is an invention, metre in Alap, Martin Clayton, alap is the "unmeasured" section of a raga in Indian music, it does have it's metric structure and process, just not a clear beat, Computer-assisted analysis, influence of language, Stobart & Cross: Northern Potosi, Bolivia, nPVI, Patel & Daniele etc., language syllable timing & music rhythm patterns

structure, Western notation structures structure, non-western musics: real difference or a difference of representation?

complexity, often used as an indicator of cultural tuning of perceptual processes, melodic, rhythmic, structural..., features familiar in own music seem less complex

emotion, many studies on cross-cultural aspects of emotion perception, is music an universal language of emotions?


rhythm, polyrhythms, dance, group synchronisation, Projects in JY Music Dept.


potential universals, elementary auditory grouping, stable reference pitch, division of octave into scale steps, use of reference pulse, induction of rhythmic patterns by asymmetric subdivision


infant musicality, early communication is "musical"

infants have sensitivity to all variants

with age (1 year) focus on those important in own culture, acculturation


Nature or nurture?

What determines "behavioural outcomes"?, Genetic makeup & biology - nature, Absolutist, Similarities: Species-wide basic processes, Differences: non-cultural factors, Upbringing and environment - nurture, Relativist, Similarities: usually not studied, Differences: cultural influences, Both, Universalist, Similarities: species-wide basic processes, Differences: culture-organism interactions, Matt Ridley, But: not everything is both, Chinese vs. English language, language faculty is shared, content culturally determined, autism: not due to cultural or nurture-related factors

so what if there's a difference?

so what if there's a similarity?


Biological adaptation

Genetic transmission

Ecological influences

Cultural adaptation

Cultural transmission



Ecological context

Socio-political context

Issues / problems

Differences in theoretical concepts

music theory, scale, harmony, meter, melody / accompaniment, consonance / dissonance


cognitive systems, instruments, language & concepts

Number of variables that are different


Socio-economic status


Musical practices

Social dynamics / meanings of music


Too many approaches, too few arrivals

There is no perfect experiment, full stop.

Definition of music, definition of culture

What constitutes cross-cultural study?, Cultural group, methodology applied for ethnic groups in same country, different countries?, Could musician - non-musician be a cross-cultural study?

Music is easier, as rarely the whole concept is under study, rather a fragment of perception

Cross-cultural psychology


Culture, shared way of life for a group of people, arte, cultural experiences, cultural change

Cross-cultural psychology

cross-what?, geography, language, nation, other?, cross-national psychology, within nation, between ethnic / cultural groups

Related disciplines

naturalistic disciplines, ecology, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, biology

psychology: often experimental, developmental, social behaviour, personality, cognition, perception


how to collaborate between fields of science?, Need to avoid reductionism

Convergence of naturalistic and experimental viewpoints

variance & effects: differences within culture vs. similarities between cultures, musicians vs. non-musicians?


"transport and test"

"explore and discover"

"generate a more universal psychology"


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Reading material

Carterette, E.C. and Kendall, R.A. (1999). Comparative music perception and cognition. In D. Deutsch (ed.). The Psychology of Music. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. 725-791.

Stevens, K. (2004). Cross-cultural studies of musical pitch and time. Acoust. Sci. & Tech. 25(6) (doi: 10.1250/ast.25.433)

Balkwill, L.L. and Thompson, W.F. (1999). A cross-cultural investigation of the perception of emotion in music: Psychophysical and cultural cues. Music Perception, 17(1), 43-64.

Berry, J.W. and Poortinga, Y.H. and Pandey, J. (1997). Handbook of Cross-cultural Psychology: Theory and method. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Ridley, M. (2003). Nature via nurture: Genes, experience, and what makes us human. London, UK: Harper & Collins.

Krumhansl, C.L., Toivanen, P., Eerola, T., Toiviainen, P., Järvinen, T. & Louhivuori, J. (2000). Cross-cultural music cognition: Cognitive methodology applied to North Sami yoiks. Cognition, 76(1), 13-58.

Fritz, T., Jentschke, S., Gosselin, N., Sammler, D., Peretz, I., Turner, R., Friederici, A.D. and Koelsch, S. (2009). Universal recognition of three basic emotions in music. Current Biology, 19(7), 573-576.