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 April 17, 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 April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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