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Listening to music is biological
Date:2/25/2011

Music is listened in all known cultures. Similarities between human and animal song have been detected: both contain a message, an intention that reflects innate emotional state that is interpreted correctly even among different species. In fact, several behavioral features in listening to music are closely related to attachment: lullabies are song to infants to increase their attachment to a parent, and singing or playing music together is based on teamwork and may add group cohesion.

In the study of University of Helsinki and Sibelius-Academy, Helsinki, the biological basis of music listening was examined. Data consisted of 31 Finnish families with 437 family members. The participants of the study were 893 years old from professional or amateur musicians to participants with no music education. To dissect listening habits further, active and passive listening of music were separately defined and surveyed using questionnaire. Active listening was defined as attentive listening of music, including attending concerts. Passive listening was defined as hearing or listening to music as background music. All participants were tested for musical aptitude using three music tests and a blood sample was taken for DNA analysis.

In the study the participants reported weekly average active listening to music of 4.6 hours and passive listening to music of 7.3 hours. It was noted that music education, high music test scores and creativity in music tended to add active music listening.

Recent genetic studies have shown familial aggregation of tone deafness, absolute pitch, musical aptitude and creative functions in music. In this study, willingness to listen to music and the level of music education varied in pedigrees.

This is one of the first studies where listening to music has been explored at molecular level, and the first study to show association between arginine vasopressin receptor 1A (AVPR1A) gene variants with listening to music. Previously, an
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Contact: Dr. Irma Jrvel
irma.jarvela@helsinki.fi
358-505-447-030
University of Helsinki
Source:Eurekalert

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