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Poster E81

A Novel Assessment of Musical Creativity: Behavioral and EEG Studies

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Psyche Loui1, Corinna Parrish1, Anjali Asthagiri2, Eva Wu1, Jethro Lee1; 1Northeastern University, 2Cornell University

What makes a creative musician? Studies on musical creativity have traditionally focused on comparing musicians with different levels of improvisation training (e.g. western classical and jazz musicians), mainly due to ease of access in lab-based, experimentally controlled environments. Although there is much to be learned from these studies, many open questions remain about the nature of musical creativity. Here we introduce BP sequencer: an experimental interface for generating and evaluating music in the Bohlen-Pierce (BP) scale. BP sequencer yields empirical, computationally tractable data, while requiring relatively low levels of domain-specific knowledge for the user, thus lowering the barrier-to-entry for understanding creativity by making it accessible to those with minimal training. We report three experiments – two behavioral and one EEG – in which we quantify the number of sequences generated by each individual and isolate the musical-informatic features that were rated as creative. Participants showed a wide range of fluency in generating novel sequences. Sequences rated as more creative were generally longer, had more unique pitches, and had higher interval entropy. Furthermore, using electrophysiology (EEG) we quantified three distinct candidate biomarkers: frequency-tagged activity (power spectral density), intrinsic frequency-based activity (alpha), and early and late phases of time-based (ERP) activity, that together contribute to prediction and positive prediction error, both of which are central to the perception of creativity. This sequencer can provide a useful tool for assessing creative perception and cognition, and open up the theoretical link between positive prediction errors and the perception of creativity.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition


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April 13–16  |  2024