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Psychol Sci. 2011 Oct;22(10):1270-3. doi: 10.1177/0956797611418244. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Chicks like consonant music.

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  • 1Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy. cinzia.chiandetti@unitn.it

Abstract

The question of whether preference for consonance is rooted in acoustic properties important to the auditory system or is acquired through enculturation has not yet been resolved. Two-month-old infants prefer consonant over dissonant intervals, but it is possible that this preference is rapidly acquired through exposure to music soon after birth or in utero. Controlled-rearing studies with animals can help shed light on this question because such studies allow researchers to distinguish between biological predispositions and learned preferences. In the research reported here, we found that newly hatched domestic chicks show a spontaneous preference for a visual imprinting object associated with consonant sound intervals over an identical object associated with dissonant sound intervals. We propose that preference for harmonic relationships between frequency components may be related to the prominence of harmonic spectra in biological sounds in natural environments.

PMID:
21934134
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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