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Top Cogn Sci. 2012 Oct;4(4):498-512. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2012.01220.x. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Musicality: instinct or acquired skill?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, New York University, NY 10003, USA.


Is the human tendency toward musicality better thought of as the product of a specific, evolved instinct or an acquired skill? Developmental and evolutionary arguments are considered, along with issues of domain-specificity. The article also considers the question of why humans might be consistently and intensely drawn to music if musicality is not in fact the product of a specifically evolved instinct.

Copyright © 2012 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.

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