Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why humans are musical

Date:
September 23, 2013
Source:
Expertsvar
Summary:
Why don't apes have musical talent, while humans, parrots, small birds, elephants, whales, and bats do? One researcher attempts to answer this question in his latest publication.

The ability to mimic and imitate things like music and speech is the result of the fact that synchronised group movement makes it possible to perceive sounds from the surroundings better.
Credit: iStockphoto

Why don't apes have musical talent, while humans, parrots, small birds, elephants, whales, and bats do? Matz Larsson, senior physician at the Lung Clinic at Φrebro University Hospital, attempts to answer this question in the scientific publication Animal Cognition.

In his article, he asserts that the ability to mimic and imitate things like music and speech is the result of the fact that synchronised group movement quite simply makes it possible to perceive sounds from the surroundings better.

The hypothesis is that the evolution of vocal learning, that is musical traits, is influenced by the need of a species to deal with the disturbing sounds that are created in connection with locomotion. These sounds can affect our hearing only when we move.

"When several people with legs of roughly the same length move together, we tend to unconsciously move in rhythm. When our footsteps occur simultaneously, a brief interval of silence occurs. In the middle of each stride we can hear our surroundings better. It becomes easier to hear a pursuer, and perhaps easier to conduct a conversation as well," explains Larsson.

A behaviour that has survival value tends to produce dopamine, the "reward molecule." In dangerous terrain, this could result in the stimulation of rhythmic movements and enhanced listening to surrounding sounds in nature. If that kind of synchronized behaviour was rewarding in dangerous environments it may as well have been rewarding for the brain in relative safety, resulting in activities such as hand- clapping, foot-stamping and yelping around the campfire. From there it is just a short step to dance and rhythm. The hormone dopamine flows when we listen to music.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Matz Larsson. Incidental sounds of locomotion in animal cognition. Animal Cognition, 2011; 15 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1007/s10071-011-0433-2

Cite This Page:

Expertsvar. "Why humans are musical." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923092603.htm>.
Expertsvar. (2013, September 23). Why humans are musical. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923092603.htm
Expertsvar. "Why humans are musical." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923092603.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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