Bimusicalism: The implicit dual enculturation of cognitive and affective systems

Patrick C.M. Wong, Anil K. Roy, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


One prominent example Of globalization and mass cultural exchange is bilingualism, whereby world citizens learn to understand and speak multiple languages.Music, similar to language, is a human universal, and subject to the effects of globalization. In two experiments, we asked whether bimusicalism exists as a phenomenon, and whether it can occur even without explicit formal training and extensive music-making. Everyday music listeners who had significant exposure to music of both Indian (South Asian) and Western traditions (IW listeners) and listeners who had experience with only Indian or Western culture (I or W listeners) participated in recognition memory and tension judgment experiments where they listened to Western and Indian music. We found that while I and W listeners showed an in-culture bias, IW listeners showed equal responses to music from both cultures, suggesting that dual mental and affective sensitivities can be extended to a nonlinguistic domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalMusic Perception
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Music


  • Biculturalism
  • Musical culture
  • Perceptual learning
  • Recognition memory
  • Tension


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