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Searching for the origins of musicality across species

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yuki Kikuchi, Professor Carel ten Cate



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In the introduction to this theme issue, Honing et al. suggest that the origins of musicality the capacity that makes it possible for us to perceive, appreciate and produce music can be pursued productively by searching for components of musicality in other species. Recent studies have highlighted that the behavioural relevance of stimuli to animals and the relation of experimental procedures to their natural behaviour can have a large impact on the type of results that can be obtained for a given species. Through reviewing laboratory findings on animal auditory perception and behaviour, as well as relevant findings on natural behaviour, we provide evidence that both traditional laboratory studies and studies relating to natural behaviour are needed to answer the problem of musicality. Traditional laboratory studies use synthetic stimuli that provide more control than more naturalistic studies, and are in many ways suitable to test the perceptual abilities of animals. However, naturalistic studies are essential to inform us as to what might constitute relevant stimuli and parameters to test with laboratory studies, or why we may or may not expect certain stimulus manipulations to be relevant. These two approaches are both vital in the comparative study of musicality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hoeschele M, Merchant H, Kikuchi Y, Hattori Y, ten Cate C

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Philosophical Transactions B

Year: 2015

Volume: 370

Issue: 1664

Print publication date: 01/03/2015

Online publication date: 02/02/2015

ISSN (print): 0962-8436

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2970

Publisher: ROYAL SOC


DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0094