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[Academic Report] The 84th Gao Juefu Psychological Lectures:Music and Psychology: Exploring Music and Human Psychological Development from the Perspective of Brain Science

On the afternoon of 21 June 2021, the 84th session of the Gao Juefu Psychological Lectures was successfully held through Tencent Conference. Professor Hou Jiancheng, from the Cross-Strait Cultural Development Collaborative Innovation Centre of Fujian Normal University, delivered a lecture entitled "Music and Psychology: Exploring Music and Human Psychological Development from the Perspective of Brain Science". The lecture was hosted by Professor Wang Fengyan, the leader of the psychology discipline in the School of Psychology of Nanjing Normal University, and some teachers and students of the School of Psychology attended the lecture. Professor Hou Jiancheng's main research interests are music perception and music training through behavioural and MRI methods, and he has published several papers in academic journals at home and abroad, and co-authored a monograph. Professor Hou is also an outstanding graduate student from Nanjing Normal University.


The lecture began with a brief explanation of the external and internal structure of the human brain and the reasons for the current emphasis on human brain research in psychology. He then discussed the relationship between music and the brain from five perspectives: firstly, he explained innate musical ability and later learning training. Professor Hou points out that, on the one hand, music is a product of the evolutionary process of human beings, who are born with musical abilities and the desire to create, and on the other hand, musical learning and training after birth have a facilitating effect on human musical cognitive abilities. Secondly, the development of musical ability was discussed. Professor Hou explained that music learning and training can promote changes in brain function and structure, which have a significant impact on the development of musical cognitive abilities. The development of musical abilities varies at different stages of human development, which is related to the neurodevelopmental status of the brain at each stage, and the development of musical abilities during infancy, early childhood, childhood, adolescence and adulthood is explained in detail. Thirdly, the relationship between music and other cognitive abilities is described. Professor Hou points out that music training can have a significant impact on other cognitive abilities - such as language, mathematics, intelligence, visuospatial perception and decision-making - in addition to improving musical ability, and introduces the " Mozart Effect" and other related studies. In addition, music affects the production and regulation of emotions in the brain.


Fourthly, the heritability of musical ability is discussed. Professor Hou presented research on the heritability of musical ability from genetic and brain imaging perspectives and related research on musical disorders. Furthermore, Professor Hou makes a detailed distinction between the critical and sensitive periods of musical training, noting that musical learning and training can also have a positive effect after the sensitive period. Finally, Professor Hou explained the implications of music psychology research for education and life. For example, providing a musically enriched atmosphere and environment, and actively developing other forms of entertainment or activities according to individual preferences and characteristics. In the Q & A session, Professor Hou responded to the audience's question about brain lateralisation, pointing out that brain lateralisation is appropriate to different developmental stages, and added a presentation on recent research, as well as answering some specific questions on experimental design ideas. The whole lecture was very informative and enlightening, and everyone in the audience benefited greatly from it!


(Writer: Feng Jiahe)