Iris Mencke

Iris Mencke
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics | MPGAESTHETIC · Department of Music

Master of Arts

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7
Publications
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Introduction
Iris Mencke currently works at the Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. Iris does research in Musicology, Aesthetics and Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. Their current project is 'The Pleasure of the Unpredictable - Aesthetic Experience of Contemporary Classical Music'.

Publications

Publications (7)
Article
Current models of aesthetic experience of music (AEM) have emerged in the recent years capitalizing on evidence from psychology and neuroscience research, thus modeling mainly cognitive and information processes in the brain. However, a large part of the empirical research on which these models are based is related to Western tonal music, while ano...
Article
Full-text available
Atonal music is often characterized by low predictability stemming from the absence of tonal or metrical hierarchies. In contrast, Western tonal music exhibits intrinsic predictability due to its hierarchical structure and therefore, offers a directly accessible predictive model to the listener. In consequence, a specific challenge of atonal music...
Article
Full-text available
Predictive models in the brain rely on the continuous extraction of regularities from the environment. These models are thought to be updated by novel information, as reflected in prediction error responses such as the mismatch negativity (MMN). However, although in real life individuals often face situations in which uncertainty prevails, it remai...
Preprint
Full-text available
Predictive models in the brain rely on the continuous extraction of regularities from the environment. These models are thought to be updated by novel information, as reflected in prediction error responses such as the mismatch negativity (MMN). However, although in real life individuals often face situations in which uncertainty prevails, it remai...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, the field of neuroaesthetics has gained considerable attention with music being a favored object of study. The majority of studies concerning music have, however, focused on the experience of Western tonal music (TM), which is characterized by tonal hierarchical organization, a high degree of consonance, and a tendency to provide t...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The neuroscientific research on musical pleasure has so far focused on Western tonal music. It has been associated with activity in the limbic system, distinguishing two main neural activity patterns, probably reflecting phases of either anticipation or peak experience. This has led researchers to the notion that predictive mechanisms are central for inducing emotions and arousal in music listening, in particular due to the generation of predictions and their violations. However, contemporary classical music (CCM) is characterized by the lack of a regular meter and tonal structure resulting in a very complex and very unpredictable stimulus environment. Thus the question that arises is how this experienced uncertainty can lead to pleasure and to which kind of pleasure. The current study aims to add to the understanding of the aesthetic experience (of music) by involving a musical genre that follows a significantly different aesthetic paradigm than Western tonal music. Outcomes could contribute to an understanding of how individuals are able to adapt to uncertain environments and could point towards mechanisms that lead to appreciation of such environments.
Project
Since its origins, contemporary classical music (CCM) has been criticized for being difficult to understand, if not completely inaccessible. In fact, CCM is diametrically opposed to the aesthetics of classical tonal music and is characterized by its dissonance, partially impenetrable structure, and unpredictable development. This is not only a challenge for the inexperienced listener, but also one of the reasons why CCM has been more or less a niche in the last 100 years. Nevertheless, supporters of New Music are naturally unimpressed by this, and their loyalty to New Music is remarkable. These experts will be the focus of this project. The aim of the project is to breakdown the apparently complex perceptual process of listening to contemporary classical music (CCM). In addition, a basis for building hypotheses about the processing and enjoyment of CCM will be generated in order to guide subsequent quantitative studies. Last but not least, the current study aims to advance the modeling of the aesthetic experience by using qualitative data to either confirm already existing concepts, or to generate new dimensions and experience qualities for subsequent integration.