Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Lecture | Aniruddh Patel | The Evolution and Neurobiology of Musical Beat Processing

Episode Summary

Lecture | Aniruddh Patel |The Evolution and Neurobiology of Musical Beat Processing

Episode Notes

Music is ancient and universal in human cultures. In The Descent of Man, Darwin theorized that musical rhythmic processing tapped into ancient and widespread aspects of animal brain function. While appealing, this idea is being challenged by modern cross-species and neurobiological research. In this talk I will describe research supporting the hypothesis that musical beat processing has its origin in another rare biological trait shared by humans and just a few other groups of animals (none of which are primates), namely complex vocal learning. I will also suggest that once the capacity for beat processing arose in our species, it was refined and enhanced by mechanisms of gene-culture coevolution due to the impact of synchronization to a beat on social bonds in early human groups. (March 22, 2016) Sponsored by the CMBC with support from the Hightower Fund, and the Departments of Psychology and Anthropology.