Navigation Links
Scientists Make Sweet Monkey Music

Primates respond to tunes based on their calls

TUESDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Monkeys prefer silence to Mozart, but new research suggests they can appreciate music inspired by the sounds they themselves make.

When researchers played music similar to soothing monkey calls, the animals moved less often. If they played music that sounded like monkey distress calls, they became anxious.

This may not sound surprising. But it shows that "communicating emotionally through music is something we can do to communicate to other species as well," said study co-author Charles Snowdon, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The study authors also speculate that music may have had its origins in animal calls.

Non-human primates don't seem to appreciate human music, Snowdon said, although research has suggested they prefer Mozart to rock music and silence to Mozart.

In the new study, University of Maryland cello player David Teie created brief snippets of music that were inspired by the calls of the cotton-top tamarin, a very vocal species found in the rainforests of South America. The music included similar pitches, and sounds were of similar lengths.

Then Snowdon played the snippets for monkeys of that species to see if they could tell the difference between music inspired by soothing calls and calls that communicate fear and threats.

The findings appear in this week's issue of Biology Letters.

The researchers found that the monkeys could indeed tell the difference between the two different types of music and acted accordingly, becoming calm or agitated.

Human ears can also detect the differences between the types of monkey music: calming music has longer tones, while the agitating music is more staccato.

By contrast, the monkeys were indifferent when the researchers played calming and arousing music designed for humans, Snowdon said.

Humans also use short, staccato notes to arouse themselves, Snowdon said, and longer notes for calming purposes. You might tell a baby to calm down, for example, by saying "Aww, come on, come on," starting at a high pitch and descending, he said.

Frans B.M. de Waal, a professor of psychology at Emory University who studies primates, said the findings appear to say more about how monkeys respond to the sounds they make than they do about music or the evolution of music.

As to the idea that staccato sounds are perceived as more aggressive than softer sounds in both humans and the monkeys, de Waal said that may be the case in humans because lullaby-like music sounds similar to a mother's cooing voice.

Snowdon no longer has a monkey colony to use in his research. But he said his co-author, Teie, is exploring the concept of music for cats.

"If we understand how we can affect their emotional states through using musical tones and aspects of our speech, maybe those of us living with companion animals can have a better relationship with them, too," Snowdon said.

More information

Visit the University of Wisconsin to hear the monkey music.

SOURCES: Charles Snowdon, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Frans B.M. de Waal, Ph.D., professor, psychology, Emory University, Atlanta; Sept. 1, 2009, Biology Letters

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists from University of Hawaii at Manoa find genetic marker
2. Nottingham scientists commissioned for urgent swine flu research
3. Ellison Medical Foundation awards more than $1 million to mid-career scientists
4. New Federal Training Grant to Teach Doctors/Scientists Immunology
5. Scientists Spot How Sugar Feeds Tumors
6. Argonne, University of Chicago Scientists Develop Targeted Cancer Treatment Using Nanomaterials
7. MSU scientists: Progesterone leads to inflammation
8. Argonne, University of Chicago scientists develop targeted cancer treatment using nanomaterials
9. Pitt scientists find intrinsic changes in protein shape influence drug binding
10. Hard To Treat Diseases (HTDS.PK) Scientists present encouraging results for the future of Multiple Sclerosis treatment.
11. MRC scientists advance understanding of cell death
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists Make Sweet Monkey Music
(Date:10/13/2015)... Pennsylvania (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... people through a unique private messaging application, announced today a significant contract that ... another five years. Independence plans to build on the growing success of its ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... A child without ... why SmileCareClub , the leading remote invisible aligner system, has joined with ... otherwise go without it. For each aligner treatment plan purchased, SmileCareClub will donate one ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... Omega-3, a first-of-its kind product that targets the unique health needs of ... of the American Pregnancy Association ( ), utilizes Nordic Naturals’ exclusive, ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... ... Tempe Dental Care, a leading Tempe dentists’ office, celebrates offering gentle, pain free ... more than 5 years. A leading cause of emergency room visits, school absences, and ... timely. , Sedation dentistry provides an anxiety-free dental experience with safe ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... According to an ... an orbital fracture when a teammate accidentally elbowed him in the left eye during ... eye injury is just one of a series of setbacks, including a knee injury ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015 TriGuard™ Cerebral Protection ... findings from the multicenter Neuro-TAVR study with the clinical ... San Francisco this week. --> ... will be sharing additional findings from the multicenter Neuro-TAVR ... (TCT) meeting in San Francisco ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... According to the 2015 National ... Cardinal Health , achieving both higher patient ... revenue streams are vital to the future success ... Digest affirms that independent community pharmacies are ... inner city and rural areas," said NCPA CEO ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... WASHINGTON , Oct. 13, 2015  Measurement ... quality improvement and balancing financial incentives, but gaps ... improve patient care and health systems. A new, ... Journal of Managed Care explores measurement ... improve measure sets. --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: