© MPI CBS

Have you always wanted to write a pop music classic? Good news! Prof. Dr. Stefan Kölsch and PhD student Vincent Ka Ming Cheung from the Max-Planck-Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have decoded part of successful music’s DNA. Songs like James Taylor’s Country Road, UB40’s Red, Red Wine or The Beatles’ Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da are irresistible thanks to their perfect combination of anticipation and surprise. Pleasure in music depends on both past and future expectations.

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About the author

Author profile picture Almut Otto is a writer and has over 30 years of know-how in the communications industry. She learned the trade of journalism from scratch in a daily newspaper and in a special interest magazine. After studying communication sciences in Munich, she worked as an international PR manager in the textile, shoe, outdoor and IT industries for a long time. For some years now, she has been concentrating more on her journalistic background. As a passionate outdoor and water sports enthusiast - her hobbies include windsurfing, kitesurfing, SUP boarding, sailing and snowboarding - she is particularly interested in keeping the oceans clean and shaping a sustainable future. In addition, she is always fascinated by the latest developments from the world's hardware and software laboratories.