Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chicks dig certain types of music

Date:
July 11, 2011
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
What accounts for the sounds we like to hear? Is it something about the properties of our auditory systems or brains? Or are such tastes learned? Two-month-old human infants show a preference for consonant, or gentler harmonies over more dissonant or harsher ones. But it's still impossible to know whether that preference is inborn, since the babies may have been exposed to certain sounds, even in utero. Birds show similar behaviors: they can distinguish between different kinds of sounds and certain species are attracted to certain sounds. But because no one had experimented on birds raised in a controlled, isolated environment, before they've experienced any social life, the reasons have remained unclear -- until now.

What accounts for the sounds we like to hear? Is it something about the properties of our auditory systems or brains? Or are such tastes learned? Two-month-old human infants show a preference for consonant, or gentler harmonies over more dissonant or harsher ones. But it's still impossible to know whether that preference is inborn, since the babies may have been exposed to certain sounds, even in utero.

Related Articles


Birds show similar behaviors: they can distinguish between different kinds of sounds and certain species are attracted to certain sounds. But because no one had experimented on birds raised in a controlled, isolated environment, before they've experienced any social life, the reasons have remained unclear.

For the first time, neuroscientists Cinzia Chiandetti and Giorgio Vallortigara of the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences of the University of Trento, Italy, did just that: They tested the spontaneous preferences of newly hatched domestic chickens. Their conclusion: "Chicks like consonant sounds."

The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Eighty-one chicks were incubated in isolated chambers warmed by a lightbulb. Days after hatching, each chick was brought into a testing area consisting of a runway with a speaker at each end, separated from the birds by polyester partitions. The birds were confined to the middle of the runway.

The speakers simultaneously broadcast recorded melodies played on a piano synthesizer -- the same melodies used in as in infant research. From one speaker came consonant sounds -- using the more mellifluous intervals of major and minor thirds. The other melodies were harmonized with more grating sounds: major seconds, pitches right next to each other on the scale. Although the harmonies differed, the melodies were the same in tempo, pitch, and rhythm. Then the partitions were removed and the chicks got six minutes to move around. Videotaped recordings were analyzed for where they went and the length of time they spent in each area.

The results: At first, the birds stayed in the middle, as chicks tend to freeze in reaction to new experiences. Then, more quickly with each trial, they moved to their favorite speaker, and demonstrated a "significant preference" for the consonant harmonies. Chiandetti, who also has a degree in psychology, says the findings are "particularly intriguing" because chickens are non-singing birds: they don't learn melodies, hence they are usually considered to have less aesthetic taste."

Still, distinguishing among sounds must certainly helps the birds survive in changing environments.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Chicks dig certain types of music." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711172225.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2011, July 11). Chicks dig certain types of music. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711172225.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Chicks dig certain types of music." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711172225.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins