Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A point for the EP crowd

Dave Munger has another post about music and emotion. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that people with extensive musical training are better at detecting emotions in speech prosody (the pitch patterns used in speaking) than those without musical training. This fits in the arguments of Benzon and others that music arose before language as a means of communicating emotion. It also agrees with the notion that music has continued as a human activity as a means of exercising our emotions. If musical people are better at reading emotions, they are more likely to make lasting connections with other people, and hence increase their likelihood of survival. And this is why human cognition has evolved to enjoy listening to and creating music. A leap is made here, as the study only looks at performance, and did find that singing was not as effective as keyboard training.

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