Music and the meeting of human minds

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Over tens of thousands of years of human genetic and cultural evolution, many types and varieties of music and language have emerged; however, the fundamental components of each of these modes of communication seem to be common to all human cultures and social groups. In this brief review, rather than focusing on the development of different musical techniques and practices over time, the main issues addressed here concern: (i) when, and speculations as to why, modern Homo sapiens evolved musical behaviors, (ii) the evolutionary relationship between music and language, and (iii) why humans, perhaps unique among all living species, universally continue to possess two complementary but distinct communication streams. Did music exist before language, or vice versa, or was there a common precursor that in some way separated into two distinct yet still overlapping systems when cognitively modern H. sapiens evolved? A number of theories put forward to explain the origin and persistent universality of music are considered, but emphasis is given, supported by recent neuroimaging, physiological, and psychological findings, to the role that music can play in promoting trust, altruistic behavior, social bonding, and cooperation within groups of culturally compatible but not necessarily genetically related humans. It is argued that, early in our history, the unique socializing and harmonizing power of music acted as an essential counterweight to the new and evolving sense of self, to an emerging sense of individuality and mortality that was linked to the development of an advanced cognitive capacity and articulate language capability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number762
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume9
Issue numberMAY
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018

Fingerprint

Music
Language
Cultural Evolution
Communication
Molecular Evolution
Medical Genetics
Individuality
Neuroimaging
History
Psychology
Mortality

Cite this

@article{8718f0d28d6e45258e328dbf6a6d5779,
title = "Music and the meeting of human minds",
abstract = "Over tens of thousands of years of human genetic and cultural evolution, many types and varieties of music and language have emerged; however, the fundamental components of each of these modes of communication seem to be common to all human cultures and social groups. In this brief review, rather than focusing on the development of different musical techniques and practices over time, the main issues addressed here concern: (i) when, and speculations as to why, modern Homo sapiens evolved musical behaviors, (ii) the evolutionary relationship between music and language, and (iii) why humans, perhaps unique among all living species, universally continue to possess two complementary but distinct communication streams. Did music exist before language, or vice versa, or was there a common precursor that in some way separated into two distinct yet still overlapping systems when cognitively modern H. sapiens evolved? A number of theories put forward to explain the origin and persistent universality of music are considered, but emphasis is given, supported by recent neuroimaging, physiological, and psychological findings, to the role that music can play in promoting trust, altruistic behavior, social bonding, and cooperation within groups of culturally compatible but not necessarily genetically related humans. It is argued that, early in our history, the unique socializing and harmonizing power of music acted as an essential counterweight to the new and evolving sense of self, to an emerging sense of individuality and mortality that was linked to the development of an advanced cognitive capacity and articulate language capability.",
keywords = "Altruism, Dopamine, Evolution, Language, Motherese, Music, Oxytocin, Social cooperation",
author = "Harvey, {Alan R.}",
year = "2018",
month = "5",
day = "16",
doi = "10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00762",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
journal = "Frontiers in Psychology",
issn = "1664-1078",
publisher = "Frontiers Media SA",
number = "MAY",

}

Music and the meeting of human minds. / Harvey, Alan R.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 9, No. MAY, 762, 16.05.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

TY - JOUR

T1 - Music and the meeting of human minds

AU - Harvey, Alan R.

PY - 2018/5/16

Y1 - 2018/5/16

N2 - Over tens of thousands of years of human genetic and cultural evolution, many types and varieties of music and language have emerged; however, the fundamental components of each of these modes of communication seem to be common to all human cultures and social groups. In this brief review, rather than focusing on the development of different musical techniques and practices over time, the main issues addressed here concern: (i) when, and speculations as to why, modern Homo sapiens evolved musical behaviors, (ii) the evolutionary relationship between music and language, and (iii) why humans, perhaps unique among all living species, universally continue to possess two complementary but distinct communication streams. Did music exist before language, or vice versa, or was there a common precursor that in some way separated into two distinct yet still overlapping systems when cognitively modern H. sapiens evolved? A number of theories put forward to explain the origin and persistent universality of music are considered, but emphasis is given, supported by recent neuroimaging, physiological, and psychological findings, to the role that music can play in promoting trust, altruistic behavior, social bonding, and cooperation within groups of culturally compatible but not necessarily genetically related humans. It is argued that, early in our history, the unique socializing and harmonizing power of music acted as an essential counterweight to the new and evolving sense of self, to an emerging sense of individuality and mortality that was linked to the development of an advanced cognitive capacity and articulate language capability.

AB - Over tens of thousands of years of human genetic and cultural evolution, many types and varieties of music and language have emerged; however, the fundamental components of each of these modes of communication seem to be common to all human cultures and social groups. In this brief review, rather than focusing on the development of different musical techniques and practices over time, the main issues addressed here concern: (i) when, and speculations as to why, modern Homo sapiens evolved musical behaviors, (ii) the evolutionary relationship between music and language, and (iii) why humans, perhaps unique among all living species, universally continue to possess two complementary but distinct communication streams. Did music exist before language, or vice versa, or was there a common precursor that in some way separated into two distinct yet still overlapping systems when cognitively modern H. sapiens evolved? A number of theories put forward to explain the origin and persistent universality of music are considered, but emphasis is given, supported by recent neuroimaging, physiological, and psychological findings, to the role that music can play in promoting trust, altruistic behavior, social bonding, and cooperation within groups of culturally compatible but not necessarily genetically related humans. It is argued that, early in our history, the unique socializing and harmonizing power of music acted as an essential counterweight to the new and evolving sense of self, to an emerging sense of individuality and mortality that was linked to the development of an advanced cognitive capacity and articulate language capability.

KW - Altruism

KW - Dopamine

KW - Evolution

KW - Language

KW - Motherese

KW - Music

KW - Oxytocin

KW - Social cooperation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85047012526&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00762

DO - 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00762

M3 - Short survey

VL - 9

JO - Frontiers in Psychology

JF - Frontiers in Psychology

SN - 1664-1078

IS - MAY

M1 - 762

ER -