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Love is not the reason why we sing and create symphonies--at least not the primary reason, according to a new evolutionary theory of the origins of music.
In an article published recently in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a team of anthropologists and psychologists argue more evidence supports music coming from the need for groups to impress allies and foes, and for parents to al their attention to infants. The sexual-selection theory, however, is perhaps the most entrenched, dating back to Charles Darwin who first suggested that like bird-song, music was developed by humans to attract mates.
Hagen and his colleagues from Harvard and UCLA point out that if the sexual selection theory were true men would have developed superior music skills and women highly selective listening abilities--yet from simple observations and scientific experiments, both sexes show the similar levels of aptitude in each area.
The researchers also argue against the social bonding theory noting that there are many more efficient ways for groups to bond than the time-consuming process of making music, including talking and sharing a meal. The theory also does not for the fact that music is often performed for others who take no part in the creation of it.
The audience is the key, the authors say, to understanding the utility of music. Animals often use vocalizations to al their territory, warn others of intruders and scare others off, and there is evidence that this is a central function of human music as well.
Hagen pointed out that many state visits include a performance by a national orchestra or military band. But attention is a covert property of the mind.
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Directed song gives the infant a al that the adult is paying attention to their needs, Mehr added. When singing, the adults cannot be talking to other people. Music also appears to be universal. This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
Only the headline has been changed. Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter.
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