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Researchers: Humans are much more sensitive to pitch than monkeys are

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From ScienceDaily:

In the eternal search for understanding what makes us human, scientists found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey. The study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, highlights the promise of Sound Health, a joint project between the NIH and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that aims to understand the role of music in health …

At first glance, the scans looked similar and confirmed previous studies. Maps of the auditory cortex of human and monkey brains had similar hot spots of activity regardless of whether the sounds contained tones.

However, when the researchers looked more closely at the data, they found evidence suggesting the human brain was highly sensitive to tones. The human auditory cortex was much more responsive than the monkey cortex when they looked at the relative activity between tones and equivalent noisy sounds. … “We found that human and monkey brains had very similar responses to sounds in any given frequency range. It’s when we added tonal structure to the sounds that some of these same regions of the human brain became more responsive,” said Dr. Conway. “These results suggest the macaque monkey may experience music and other sounds differently. In contrast, the macaque’s experience of the visual world is probably very similar to our own. It makes one wonder what kind of sounds our evolutionary ancestors experienced.”

Further experiments supported these results. Slightly raising the volume of the tonal sounds had little effect on the tone sensitivity observed in the brains of two monkeys.

Finally, the researchers saw similar results when they used sounds that contained more natural harmonies for monkeys by playing recordings of macaque calls. Brain scans showed that the human auditory cortex was much more responsive than the monkey cortex when they compared relative activity between the calls and toneless, noisy versions of the calls.

“This finding suggests that speech and music may have fundamentally changed the way our brain processes pitch,” said Dr. Conway. “It may also help explain why it has been so hard for scientists to train monkeys to perform auditory tasks that humans find relatively effortless.”

“We found that a certain region of our brains has a stronger preference for sounds with pitch than macaque monkey brains,” said Bevil Conway, Ph.D., investigator in the NIH’s Intramural Research Program and a senior author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience. “The results raise the possibility that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain.” Paper. paywall – Sam V. Norman-Haignere, Nancy Kanwisher, Josh H. McDermott, Bevil R. Conway. Divergence in the functional organization of human and macaque auditory cortex revealed by fMRI responses to harmonic tones. Nature Neuroscience, 2019; 22 (7): 1057 DOI: 10.1038/s41593-019-0410-7 More.

A macaque wouldn’t really need to know pitch anyway.

See also: Birds “Behave Like Human Musicians”? This Is Getting Ridiculous.


Can randomness produce music?

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I wonder what other animals (e.g. birds!) have musical appreciation and how it differs from human musical interests?
You wonder how the music that animals make might be different from that of humans? Silver Asiatic
Music, of course, has special roles in humans. We each can probably sing at least one verse of a thousand different songs, whereas we (at least I) have difficulty memorizing even short passages of text without a tune to go with it. Some mornings I will wake up with a tune and a few lyrics in my head for a song I haven't heard in decades and didn't even like back then! Somehow my memory kept that data. And if I keep going over the parts I know, I can usually tease out a few more words or bits of the song. Maybe macaques aren't good with music, but apparently elephants are. I saw a video recently of a guy playing piano for a blind elephant is a Thai sanctuary for retired elephants. As soon as he started playing, the elephant stood transfixed. He also played some sort of flute for the elephants. I wonder what other animals (e.g. birds!) have musical appreciation and how it differs from human musical interests? Fasteddious
… she is, wow - very good. Silver Asiatic
You bet we appreciate sound more than monkeys! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JJx_NkT2N4 EDTA
Pitch isn't the right word. They're not talking about distinguishing 450 Hz from 451 Hz. They're talking (rather unclearly!) about the human ability to sense chords and combinations of harmonics. In other words, sensing the SHAPE of a spectrum, not just the frequency of the main note. Vowels are all about relative harmonics. We distinguish vowels without even hearing the main note. Traditional landline telephones carry 300 to 3000 Hz, which is above all fundamental pitches except a scream; but we understand vowels just fine. It's all in the shape of the harmonics, and more importantly how the shape of the spectrum CHANGES from millisecond to millisecond. polistra
BA77 - LOL I'm glad you enjoyed it! And the greatness of ELO is just more proof of how bacteria became human. :) Silver Asiatic
Silver Asiatic @ 2 BINGO! Ha Ha Ha!
"Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news I got the rockin' pneumonia, I need a shot of rhythm and blues" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLNR4xfh1Qc
A macaque wouldn’t really need to know pitch anyway.
Supposedly it was all required for survival and reproductive advantage. Not only sensitivity to pitch (so proto-humans could hear where to find more food?) but then the creation of music - it all had to evolve because it gave greater fitness values, that macaques and the rest of the chimp/ape kingdom never needed in order to thrive. There are days when I'd like to be an evolutionist and just write stories for a living. "One day, Papa ape was climbing down from a tree. Then, suddenly, a different sound was in his ear. 'Wow, I can hear something different!', Papa ape exclaimed to himself. Little did he know he had a lucky mutation that improved his hearing. And what a great advantage Papa had over the rest of the colony. He could hear where there were bigger bunches of bananas that nobody else knew about, because of course, big bunches make a different sound in the wind than small bunches. So, Papa got the bigger bananas and shared them with his friends and family. Well, sadly, the other apes died off because they only had smaller bunches of bananas. But Papa and his family thrived. In fact, in each of the following 20 million years, their hearing really improved. Papa's great great great great great great great ... grandchildren wrote ape-like songs and sang them to each other, because they were able to get a lot more food that way and everybody else who couldn't write tunes and sing, just died off, sadly. Then Beethoven came along and he and his clan had a great survival advantage. His CDs are still selling. See? That's evolution. What more proof could one need?" Silver Asiatic
as to:
“We found that a certain region of our brains has a stronger preference for sounds with pitch than macaque monkey brains,”,,,, “The results raise the possibility that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain.”
What? So they are actually claiming that it is possible for "sounds with pitch" to shape "the basic organization of the human brain”? And why in blue blazes, if "sounds with pitch" can shape "the basic organization of the human brain, is it only the human brain, and not the monkey brain, that has been shaped by "sounds with pitch"? Of course, since they have assumed Darwinian evolution as being true in their article, they really want to tie Darwinian evolution into their explanation somehow. Yet, this is impossible. They simply have ZERO evidence that Darwinian processes can produce a single neuron, much less do they have evidence that Darwinian processes can 'shape' a brain that can appreciate music.
NIH Director: Each Neuron is Different - July 11, 2015 Excerpt: Things are astronomically more complicated in the brain, as its “wires” are not merely a conduit of electrical charge but an incredibly complex cell called a neuron. And each neuron does not merely attach to two distant connectors, but rather to hundreds or thousands of connectors. And each connection is nothing like a simple soldering attachment. In the brain they are called synapses and with thousands of molecular-scale switches researchers compare them to microprocessors. But on top of all that, each neuron is different. A hundred billion different, unique neurons, each having a different, unique function. Each forming a different, unique set of synapses. We have not even begun to understand all of this neural circuitry, let alone how to design or build anything like it. And yet (Darwinists) insist it all must have arisen spontaneously, as a result of random mutations. That is not science, that is absurdity. http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2015/07/nih-director-each-neuron-is-different.html
As News asked at the end of her OP, "Can randomness produce music?", the entire notion that randomness can produce music, or produce a brain that can appreciate music, is simply preposterous.
"It was not a fortuitous meeting of chordal atoms that made the world. If order and beauty are reflected in the constitution of the universe, then there is a God." - Beethoven
Contrary to the Darwinian presupposition that the existence of music, and our unique ability to appreciate music, are "a fortuitous meeting of chordal atoms", the existence of music and the unique ability of humans to create and appreciate music is, like man's unique ability to create language, yet another proof that we are made in 'the image of God'.
Matthew 26:30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Jesus Sings Excerpt: Third, Romans 15:9 pictures Jesus singing and playing an instrument, fulfilling the role as the Church’s chief worship leader. In this final text, the Apostle Paul also cites from the Old Testament a line from David and his psalm of thanksgiving (Psalm 18:49). But in the Old Testament language we discover a singer engaged in more than a solo. Here the singing includes an instrument, and David takes a role similar to that of a worship leader. Again, a corporate theme emerges here. Of course any Jewish worship leader could lead the Jewish nation in worship. But this worship leader has set his sights on something larger, on leading worship among all the Gentile nations. This worship leader will not sing in spite of the Gentiles, but he will sing among the Gentiles.,,, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/jesus-sings Brooke Fraser - CS Lewis Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PycBrNP8dXg

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