music’s biological basis

dennis posts on some recent research (that i linked to here) about how, it turns out (surprise, surprise to anyone not paying attention), that listening to music is biological; specifically that individuals with certain variations of a gene related to the hormone, vasopressin, listen to music more frequently than other individuals with different variations of the gene. (btw, the same gene variations have been associated with musical ability.)

that same gene has also been associated with monogamy (or not) in prairie voles (they’re so cuuuuuute!), and so it’s not too much of a stretch, i think, to say that this is obviously one of the genes involved in singing (or making some other sort of musical noise) and mate attraction|retention. yeah, just like the birdies.

and, while that’s all extremely interesting, i think dennis asks the most interesting (rhetorical) question: “How could music not have a biological or evolutionary basis?”


in fact, how could all sorts of “cultural” things that we humans do NOT have a biological or evolutionary basis?

in case you haven’t noticed, that has been, and will prolly continue to be (don’t say i didn’t warn you!), an ongoing theme here on this blog: where does culture come from? (hint: i think a helluva lot of it is from our biologies. at the same time, of course, there are clearly many aspects of our cultures that are pure happenstance.)

and now, for your viewing enjoyment, “why do voles fall in love?”:

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(p.s. you just know that there’s gotta be differences in the frequencies of these vasopressin gene types, as well as any other genes related to pair-bonding, in different human populations. ¿sí?)

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how musical r u?

more genUine science being done online! really!

how musical are you? over @the beeb.

apparently i’m pretty musical even tho i never got past the recorder in 4th grade music class. but my “social creativity” is low. i coulda told ’em that. (~_^)

take the test. go on! it’s fer SCIENCE! (^_^)