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Evolution of Emotional CommunicationFrom Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man$
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Eckart Altenmüller, Sabine Schmidt, and Elke Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 November 2020

Acoustically mediated emotional contagion as an across-species homology underlying music processing

Acoustically mediated emotional contagion as an across-species homology underlying music processing

Chapter:
(p.300) Chapter 18 Acoustically mediated emotional contagion as an across-species homology underlying music processing
Source:
Evolution of Emotional Communication
Author(s):

Thomas Fritz

Stefan Koelsch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.003.0018

An understanding about the biological roots of music may be vital to the study of human evolution. Here we first review ideas on drumming and song as homologous traits of the human capacity for music, and then point out another possible homology of this capacity: A neurological physiology supporting acoustically mediated emotional contagion. A key aspect of this argument is that acoustically mediated emotionally contagious behaviours in our closest phylogenetic relatives (play panting and pant hoots in African great apes) are structurally and functionally related to laughter and music in humans. We conclude that the musical capacity in humans may have evolved as a response to selective pressures for increased group size for its effect of synchronizing group motivation and emotional experience through acoustically mediated emotional contagion, and as such would have promoted group gatherings, social functions and the establishment of rituals.

Keywords:   evolution, emotional contagion, homology, trait, common ancestor, music, laughter

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