The Near-Sighted Monkey

What happens when music is banned? Where does it go?

Video: Orchestra Baobab : Utrus Horas 1982

"Nowhere does music have a greater social and political importance than in the vast desert state of Mali. It is shocking, therefore, that it has been banned across much of the two-thirds of Mali…”

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Above: The Near-Sighted Monkey Has a Good Time by Lynda Barry
Below: Monkeys Don’t Go For Music — Unless It’s Made for Them
(Source: WIRED, 9/1/09  —thanks to John Nondorf for bringing this to our attention)
By Hadley Leggett
Monkeys don’t care much for human music, but apparently they will groove to their own beat.
Previous experiments have shown that tamarin monkeys prefer silence to Mozart, and they don’t respond emotionally to human music the way people do. But when a psychologist and a musician collaborated to compose music based on the pitch, tone and tempo of tamarin calls, they discovered that the species-specific music significantly affected monkey behavior and emotional response.
“Different species may have different things that they react to and enjoy differently in music,” said psychologist Charles Snowdon of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who published the paper Tuesday in Biology Letters with composer David Teie of the University of Maryland. “If we play human music, we shouldn’t expect the monkeys to enjoy that, just like when we play the music that David composed, we don’t enjoy it too much.”
Indeed, the monkey music sounds shrill and unpleasant to human ears. Each of the 30-second pieces below were produced with a cello and Teie’s voice, based on specific features from recordings of tamarin monkey calls. The first “song” is based on fear calls from an upset monkey, while the second one contains soothing sounds based on the vocalizations of a relaxed animal.
Fearful monkey music: Download mp3
Happy monkey music: Download mp3
“What David has done is to create compositions that are based on structural aspects of the calls but aren’t directly mimicking the calls,” Snowdon said. “These are compositions that are intended to test whether we can convey emotional meaning and induce emotional states in other species.”
The researchers played each piece, as well as several samples of human music, for 14 tamarin monkeys that hadn’t heard music before. An independent observer recorded monkey behavior for five minutes before and after playing each selection. The monkeys didn’t respond at all to Nine-Inch Nails, Tool or Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” but oddly enough, they did become slightly calmer after listening to “Of Wolf and Man” by Metallica.
Continue reading…..

Above: The Near-Sighted Monkey Has a Good Time by Lynda Barry

Below: Monkeys Don’t Go For Music — Unless It’s Made for Them

(Source: WIRED, 9/1/09  —thanks to John Nondorf for bringing this to our attention)

By Hadley Leggett

Monkeys don’t care much for human music, but apparently they will groove to their own beat.

Previous experiments have shown that tamarin monkeys prefer silence to Mozart, and they don’t respond emotionally to human music the way people do. But when a psychologist and a musician collaborated to compose music based on the pitch, tone and tempo of tamarin calls, they discovered that the species-specific music significantly affected monkey behavior and emotional response.

“Different species may have different things that they react to and enjoy differently in music,” said psychologist Charles Snowdon of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who published the paper Tuesday in Biology Letters with composer David Teie of the University of Maryland. “If we play human music, we shouldn’t expect the monkeys to enjoy that, just like when we play the music that David composed, we don’t enjoy it too much.”

Indeed, the monkey music sounds shrill and unpleasant to human ears. Each of the 30-second pieces below were produced with a cello and Teie’s voice, based on specific features from recordings of tamarin monkey calls. The first “song” is based on fear calls from an upset monkey, while the second one contains soothing sounds based on the vocalizations of a relaxed animal.

Fearful monkey music: Download mp3

Happy monkey music: Download mp3

“What David has done is to create compositions that are based on structural aspects of the calls but aren’t directly mimicking the calls,” Snowdon said. “These are compositions that are intended to test whether we can convey emotional meaning and induce emotional states in other species.”

The researchers played each piece, as well as several samples of human music, for 14 tamarin monkeys that hadn’t heard music before. An independent observer recorded monkey behavior for five minutes before and after playing each selection. The monkeys didn’t respond at all to Nine-Inch Nails, Tool or Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” but oddly enough, they did become slightly calmer after listening to “Of Wolf and Man” by Metallica.

Continue reading…..

Mash it up, THE CURE and THE COMMODORES!

Now playing on The Near-Sighted Monkey Lounge Juke Box

Via Dan Chaon

Does this mash-up ‘get to you’? What does that mean?

From WIRED SCIENCE

The question, of course, is what all these dopamine neurons are up to. What aspects of music are they responding to? And why are they so active fifteen seconds before the acoustic climax? After all, we typically associate surges of dopamine with pleasure, with the processing of actual rewards. And yet, this cluster of cells in the caudate is most active when the chills have yet to arrive, when the melodic pattern is still unresolved.

One way to answer these questions is to zoom out, to look at the music and not the neuron. While music can often seem (at least to the outsider) like a labyrinth of intricate patterns – it’s art at its most mathematical – it turns out that the most important part of every song or symphony is when the patterns break down, when the sound becomes unpredictable. If the music is too obvious, it is annoyingly boring, like an alarm clock. (Numerous studies, after all, have demonstrated that dopamine neurons quickly adapt to predictable rewards. If we know what’s going to happen next, then we don’t get excited.) This is why composers introduce the tonic note in the beginning of the song and then studiously avoid it until the end. The longer we are denied the pattern we expect, the greater the emotional release when the pattern returns, safe and sound. That is when we get the chills.

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houseofmind:

Anatomically Distinct Dopamine Release During Anticipation and Experience of Peak Emotion to Music
Music has long been recognized as both an abstract and rewarding stimulus that produces feelings of euphoria and pleasure in many listeners.  Music may also elicit emotional responses from listeners and alter affective states. While music has been present across multiple cultures and societies throughout time, the experience of pleasure while listening to music is highly specific, personal and subjective. In a study featured in Nature Neuroscience last February, Salimpoor and others set out to study what goes on in the brain of individuals while they listened to enjoyable/pleasurable music. 
For the study, subjects were asked to bring their own pleasurable music, and the other subjects’ music was used as neutral music for comparison. Dopamine release while listening to music was estimated indirectly by using ligand-based positron emission tomography (PET) scan in which 11C raclopride, a radioactively labeled ligand, competes with endogenous dopamine for D2 receptor binding. The assumption is that if brain areas are experiencing surges of dopamine release, they binding capacity of 11C raclopride will decrease in these areas. The experience of feeling chills, a marker of peak emotional responses to music, was self-reported by the subjects. In addition, psychophysiological measurements (i.e. respiration rate, heart rate, skin conductance, temperature) were also conducted while the subjects listened to music while undergoing PET scanning. 
PET scanning revealed changes in 11C raclopride binding in the striatum, specifically in the right caudate and the right nucleus accumbens. There was also a significant positive correlation between reports of chills and feelings of overall pleasure, perhaps indicating that chills may serve as an objective measure of pleasure while listening to music. The experience of overall greater pleasure while music listening was also correlated with greater autonomic nervous system arousal, as indexed by changes in psychophysiological measurements. 
To assess the temporal dynamics in dopamine release, the group employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while subjects listened to neutral or pleasurable music. Subjects were asked to press a button whenever they felt chills (typically during pleasurable moments), and the 15s prior to the pressing of the button, which indicated chills + pleasure, were denoted as the anticipation window. Thus, dopamine release was studied in two different time periods: anticipation period (15s before reported pleasure and chills), and peak response (chills/pleasure). 
When the fMRI scans were conjoined with the PET masks, the group was able to identify a temporally mediated BOLD response in the right side of dorsal (caudate) and ventral (nucleus accumbens) striatum that corresponded with anticipation epochs and peak experience, respectively. Moreover, as demonstrated above, behavioral measures like the number of reported chills were more correlated with 11C raclopride binding changes in the right caudate while intensity of chills and overall degree of reported pleasure were more significantly correlated with changes in 11C raclopride binding potential in the right nucleus accumbens. 
In summary, the experience of pleasure while listening to music acts on the brain similarly to other rewards like food, sex and drugs. Listening to pleasurable music targets striatal areas associated with mesolimbic reward circuitry and dopaminergic neurotransmission. 
Source:
 
Salimpoor, et al. 2011. Anatomically Distinct Dopamine Release During Anticipation and Experience of Peak Emotion to Music. Nature Neuroscience. doi:10.1038/nn.2726

houseofmind:

Anatomically Distinct Dopamine Release During Anticipation and Experience of Peak Emotion to Music

Music has long been recognized as both an abstract and rewarding stimulus that produces feelings of euphoria and pleasure in many listeners.  Music may also elicit emotional responses from listeners and alter affective states. While music has been present across multiple cultures and societies throughout time, the experience of pleasure while listening to music is highly specific, personal and subjective. In a study featured in Nature Neuroscience last February, Salimpoor and others set out to study what goes on in the brain of individuals while they listened to enjoyable/pleasurable music. 

For the study, subjects were asked to bring their own pleasurable music, and the other subjects’ music was used as neutral music for comparison. Dopamine release while listening to music was estimated indirectly by using ligand-based positron emission tomography (PET) scan in which 11C raclopride, a radioactively labeled ligand, competes with endogenous dopamine for D2 receptor binding. The assumption is that if brain areas are experiencing surges of dopamine release, they binding capacity of 11C raclopride will decrease in these areas. The experience of feeling chills, a marker of peak emotional responses to music, was self-reported by the subjects. In addition, psychophysiological measurements (i.e. respiration rate, heart rate, skin conductance, temperature) were also conducted while the subjects listened to music while undergoing PET scanning. 

PET scanning revealed changes in 11C raclopride binding in the striatum, specifically in the right caudate and the right nucleus accumbens. There was also a significant positive correlation between reports of chills and feelings of overall pleasure, perhaps indicating that chills may serve as an objective measure of pleasure while listening to music. The experience of overall greater pleasure while music listening was also correlated with greater autonomic nervous system arousal, as indexed by changes in psychophysiological measurements. 

To assess the temporal dynamics in dopamine release, the group employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while subjects listened to neutral or pleasurable music. Subjects were asked to press a button whenever they felt chills (typically during pleasurable moments), and the 15s prior to the pressing of the button, which indicated chills + pleasure, were denoted as the anticipation window. Thus, dopamine release was studied in two different time periods: anticipation period (15s before reported pleasure and chills), and peak response (chills/pleasure).

When the fMRI scans were conjoined with the PET masks, the group was able to identify a temporally mediated BOLD response in the right side of dorsal (caudate) and ventral (nucleus accumbens) striatum that corresponded with anticipation epochs and peak experience, respectively. Moreover, as demonstrated above, behavioral measures like the number of reported chills were more correlated with 11C raclopride binding changes in the right caudate while intensity of chills and overall degree of reported pleasure were more significantly correlated with changes in 11C raclopride binding potential in the right nucleus accumbens. 

In summary, the experience of pleasure while listening to music acts on the brain similarly to other rewards like food, sex and drugs. Listening to pleasurable music targets striatal areas associated with mesolimbic reward circuitry and dopaminergic neurotransmission. 

Source:

Salimpoor, et al. 2011. Anatomically Distinct Dopamine Release During Anticipation and Experience of Peak Emotion to Music. Nature Neurosciencedoi:10.1038/nn.2726