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Empirical constraints on the evolutionary origins of music

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dc.contributor.advisor Edward H. Adelson. en_US
dc.contributor.author McDermott, Joshua H. (Joshua Hartman) en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2007-08-29T20:35:34Z
dc.date.available 2007-08-29T20:35:34Z
dc.date.copyright 2006 en_US
dc.date.issued 2007 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/38614
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, February 2007. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_US
dc.description.abstract The origins and adaptive significance of music, long an elusive target, are now active topics of empirical study. I argue that empirical results can constrain discussions of the adaptive significance of music by testing whether various musical traits are innate, uniquely human, and specific to music. This thesis extends the body of empirical research along these lines, with a focus on comparative experiments in nonhuman animals. A series of studies in nonhuman primates explores whether they have preferences for sounds that might be related to music perception in humans. A second set of studies explores whether preferences for music can be instantiated in nonhuman animals by exposure to music. One study examines pet dogs, who receive extensive exposure to music courtesy of their owners. Another examines the effect of artificial music exposure on a colony of laboratory monkeys. Although there are a few potential homologies between the human response to music and that of nonhuman animals, the bulk of our results suggest dramatic differences between humans and other species. This leaves open the possibility of uniquely human music-specific capacities that might constitute an adaptation for music. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Joshua H. McDermott. en_US
dc.format.extent 129 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582
dc.subject Brain and Cognitive Sciences. en_US
dc.title Empirical constraints on the evolutionary origins of music en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 156993426 en_US


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