• November 20
  • 118 Psychology Building , East Lansing
  • November 20, 2017
  • Category: Lectures/Literary

Event Details

  • November 20, 2017
  • 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Free


Event Description

Dr. Aniruddh Patel (Tufts University) will present his talk, "Evolutionary studies of music cognition: the rise of cross-species research". Lectures are free and open to the public, with a reception at 5 p.m. Abstract Music is ancient and universal in human societies. The growing research on the cognitive neuroscience of music over the past two decades has led to renewed interest in the evolutionary foundations of human musical behavior. At present, scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether human minds have been specifically shaped by evolution to support music processing. One view (dating back to Darwin) argues that musical behavior originated as biologically adaptive trait in human ancestors. In sharp contrast, another prominent view argues that musical behavior is a cultural invention which arose without any special impetus from biology. While these debates continue today, a new approach to the evolutionary study of music has recently been growing. This approach focuses on empirical cross-species research aimed at understanding the evolutionary history of specific components of music cognition. This approach has already revealed surprising differences between humans and other species in the processing of basic aspects of musical pitch and rhythm. I will describe several such findings based on research with birds, primates, and marine mammals, and discuss how these findings illuminate our understanding of how humans came to be musical.

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