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Lecture 9

PSY274H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Habituation, Long-Term Memory, Interval Ratio

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Craig Chambers

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Lecture 9
Music and Human Communication
Unprofessional – everyday, seeing certain kinds of patterns
The instrument of human voice – capacities that from everyday experience not
professional expertise
Some Initial Questions
Form of communication? Partial yes
Fits standard definition of communication?
Evolving for need or function?
Similarities/.difference between music and language
By-product of language?
Formal characteristics of music and language compare?
Communication Chain – Fit standard definition? Sort of
Message sent from one individual to another
Is it canonical for music?
There is no feedback and change between agent and listener
What is the context of music – concert or cultural setting
In many cases music is meant for one person who is the agent and the recipient, doing it
alone or within a group with no other audience
Multiple people can be producing music simultaneously, so it is synchronous
Some cultures - Music involves movement and participation
Some cultures lack a word that separate music and dance
Other Difference
Specific message that is communicative – with exceptions like Jazz
Linguistic communication is more unpredictable
Evolving for some need or function?
Possibility that music had to do with mate selection like birds – but both male and
females produce music not just one gender to attract a mate – not taken seriously
Possibility that music helped with conflict resolution – in social groups with conflict,
keep people happy and more cohesive by engaging in a collective activity which is music
Safe time passing – spend time in shelter and music used as a time passing activity while
indoors when not hunting or gathering
Group effort – easier to perform tasks if chanting along and taking mind off of it
Putting the baby down – people lost their fur there was nothing for babies to grab onto,
keep baby in touch using music, help the infant emotionally
Transgenerational communication of information – information from previous
generations was available, songs that have messages within them – good case for music
alongside language, because language must be there to transmit information
Social emotional cohesion – gratifying the groups they belong to and reinforce
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Infant caretaking – broader, more general aspects of emotional management
Most considered are social emotional cohesion and infant caretaking
Universally how music is used in activities even in contemporary societies, enjoy music
on our own
Universal nature of singing to infants similarly, goals people have, calm them, make them
happier, make them tired – how infants are reacting to singing
By-product of language?
Instead of being evolutionary significant it is something that just came with language
Music like a spandrel
Nothing special about their own character
Others say the vocal tract makes it possible to sing but there may have been to language
Can’t satisfy either argument
Music just recent and no significance to humans – may not be part of our nature, music
facilitated culture building
How be respond to music and how emotional we can be
Neanderthal - could probably make sounds as we can today, but did they language
Does it matter?
Even if 1
Traits that were originally by-products have sometimes become extremely important –
feathers on birds, first for warmth, then display and finally for flight
Shift where it took on a different purpose
Value of the trait makes it difficult to link to evolutionary origin
Could be important for modern humans but may have not evolved for that purpose
Even if 2
Music is prevalent in society
Neanderthals made music instruments – consistent with our music
Time and money on music so there is important of music
If it is so prominent it is worth asking
Formal characteristics?
Inventory of units and rules for combining the units can’t be randomly
There are hierarchical structure about how music looks like
Doesn’t change how to stimulus is processed when a professional you just change how
you objectively talk about something
Language has more levels, individual speech sounds that make bigger things
Music has fuzzier levels, notes, grouping of notes etc.
Languages can look very different between cultures
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