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Ann Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2004; 3: 6.
Published online Mar 29, 2004. doi:  10.1186/1475-2832-3-6
PMCID: PMC400748
Psychophysiology and psychoacoustics of music: Perception of complex sound in normal subjects and psychiatric patients
Stefanos A Iakovides,1 Vassiliki TH Iliadou,corresponding author1 Vassiliki TH Bizeli,1 Stergios G Kaprinis,1 Konstantinos N Fountoulakis,1 and George S Kaprinis1
13rd Department of Psychiatry, Neuroscience Division, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Stefanos A Iakovides: iakovides/at/med.auth.gr; Vassiliki TH Iliadou: vivian_iliadou/at/yahoo.gr; Vassiliki TH Bizeli: bizeli/at/med.auth.gr; Stergios G Kaprinis: kaprinis/at/med.auth.gr; Konstantinos N Fountoulakis: kfount/at/med.auth.gr; George S Kaprinis: gkaprinis/at/med.auth.gr
Received December 15, 2003; Accepted March 29, 2004.
Abstract
Perception of complex sound is a process carried out in everyday life situations and contributes in the way one perceives reality. Attempting to explain sound perception and how it affects human beings is complicated. Physics of simple sound can be described as a function of frequency, amplitude and phase. Psychology of sound, also termed psychoacoustics, has its own distinct elements of pitch, intensity and tibre. An interconnection exists between physics and psychology of hearing.
Music being a complex sound contributes to communication and conveys information with semantic and emotional elements. These elements indicate the involvement of the central nervous system through processes of integration and interpretation together with peripheral auditory processing.
Effects of sound and music in human psychology and physiology are complicated. Psychological influences of listening to different types of music are based on the different characteristics of basic musical sounds. Attempting to explain music perception can be simpler if music is broken down to its basic auditory signals. Perception of auditory signals is analyzed by the science of psychoacoustics. Differences in complex sound perception have been found between normal subjects and psychiatric patients and between different types of psychopathologies.
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