Prenatal behavioural and

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					Prenatal behavioural and
 biochemical emotional
and the origins of music
                Richard Parncutt
Department of Musicology, University of Graz, Austria

    Presented at Evolution of Emotional Communication
   (EEC 2007), Hannover, Germany, 27-29 September 2007
How does music induce emotion? (Juslin)

   Music is a byproduct of prenatal
auditory, vestibular and proprioceptive
       A theoretical paper
• idea and argument
• reference to diverse disciplines
  –   ethnomusicology, historical musicology
  –   psychology, sociology
  –   physiology, medicine, gynecology, pediatrics
  –   acoustics, psychoacoustics, audiology
  –   zoology, ethology
                 Literature example
         Hopkins & Johnson (Eds.) (2005)
     Prenatal development of postnatal functions
    Pre- and postnatal sensory experience shapes functional architecture in the brain
Lecanuet, Granier-Deferre, DeCasper:
    Are we expecting too much from prenatal experiences?
    From amnion to colostrum in milk: Odor bridging in early developmental transitions
Porter, Winberg, Varendi:
    Prenatal preparation for early postnatal olfactory learning
Robinson, Kleven:
    Learning to move before birth
de Vries, Hopkins:
    Fetal movements and postures: What do they mean for postnatal development?
Glover, O‘Connor:
    Effects of antenatal maternal stress and anxiety: From fetus to child
        Ecological approach
Perception depends primarily on interaction
with environmental affordances (Gibson)
  – does not contradict cognitive approaches
  – appropriate if no reflective consciousness
              Music and emotion
1. Strong emotions assoc. with survival and reproduction
(evolutionary psychology; Buss)
     – hunger, anger, fear
     – sexual arousal, love, jealousy

2. Music evokes strong emotions (Sloboda; Gabrielsson)

3. But music is unnecessary for survival & reproduction
     – art is by definition non-functional
...although music may enhance fitness
     – through social relationships
The mystery of music’s origins
  Why does music evoke strong emotions
  although it has no clear adaptive value?
 Association music↔emotion
Musical emotions may be…

...carried by learned sound & movement patterns
   – nostalgia (episodic memory, “They’re playing our song”)
   – youth culture and identity

...based on motherese
   – universal emotional-gestural vocabulary? (Papousek)
   – nature or nurture? (Trehub)
Ontogeny of auditory, vestibular
  and proprioceptive function
The following emerge near the middle of gestation:

1. Audition
   – physiological and behavioral evidence (Hepper, Lecanuet...)

2. Vestibular sense
   – semicircular canals (rotation)
   – otoliths (linear acceleration)
   – evidence is only physiological

3. Motor control and proprioception
   (Smotherman & Robinson)
   The prenatal stage as a
    developmental niche
Adaptive pressure
  – prenatal survival
  – postnatal survival

Transnatal (dis-) continuity

Nature, nurture or prenatal development?
 Infant mortality and bonding
Infant mortality > 50% in hunter-gatherer societies

 anything that promotes infant survival is selected

Bonding, attachment (Trevarthen)
  – mutual sensitivity to physical/emotional state
  – pre- and postnatal
      Prenatal information
      about maternal state
• biochemical
  – changing hormone concentrations
  – quickly pass placenta and brain-blood barrier

• behavioural
  – patterns of sound and movement
  – perceptible after 20 weeks
           Prenatal behavioral
Internal maternal sound and movement patterns
  –   vocalization
  –   respiration
  –   circulation
  –   impacts (footsteps)
  –   movement
  –   digestion
All depend on maternal (emotional) state
         Prenatal biochemical
Hormone concentrations in maternal blood
   reflect physical and emotional state
 adrenaline (epinephrine), adrenocorticotrophic hormone
ACTH, aldosterone, corticosteroids, corticotrophin-releasing
     hormone CRH, cortisol, dopamine, endorphins,
  glucocorticoids, insulin, melatonin, mineralicorticoids,
   noradrenaline (norepinephrine), oestrogen, oxytocin,
      prolactin, serotonin, testosterone, thyrosine…

 = a complex, redundant signal (like music)
  Possible mechanism:
hypothalmus-pituitary axis
     maternal stress/anxiety
     increased maternal CRH
      increased fetal cortisol
    reduced uterine blood flow
     congenital abnormalities
          preterm labor
       behavioral problems
         (Glover & O‘Connor)
A 3-stage model of music’s origin
    stage             phylogenesis            ontogenesis
                  prenatal      107 – 108      20 weeks
                  audition      years ago      gestation
                walk + big
                  brain         106 – 107
   operant                                       birth
                altriciality   years ago
  reflective      cultural      ~ 105 years
                                               1-3 years
consciousness    explosion         ago
        Prenatal conditioning
Emotion is defined as response to change.

Regular everyday temporal sequence of changes:
   – maternal physiology
      • environment (external event)
      • maternal state
   – fetal perception
      • internal sound and movement patterns
      • hormone levels

Many repetitions of similar patterns over 4 months
   – must the fetus be “awake”?
 Prenatal associations between
sound, movement and emotion
… are presumably strong due to…
  – prenatal dominance of audition
  – survival value of prenatal communication
Music and the mother schema
Infant schema = cuteness (Lorenz)
• cognitive representation of infant
• perceived by mother / adults

     ...but bonding is a two-way interaction!

Mother schema = voice, smell, breast, motherese
• cognitive representation of mother
• perceived by fetus / infant
    – first schema in life
    – primary environmental object
    – basis of music’s personal and spiritual properties?
Early parent-offspring conflict (Haig)
    – placenta hormonally manipulates nutrient supply

Prenatal learning (Hepper, Smotherman)
    –   exposure, habituation, conditioning
    –   human and non-human data
    –   chemosensory (Schaal; Porter) & auditory (Decasper & Fifer)
    –   function: perinatal bonding

Infant sensitivity to music (Trehub)
    – nature or nurture?
Postnatal operant conditioning
       Quasi-random behaviors
     in motherese, play and ritual
   – produce sound/movement patterns
   – evoke prenatally established associations

   These behaviors are reinforced
   – their frequency of occurrence increases
Transnatal implicit memory

Duration in empirical studies:
  – 5 weeks (Granier-Deferr; Hepper)
  – long enough to influence motherese

Protomusic in motherese, play, ritual
  – reinforces associations
  – distorts associations
              “Real” music
Protomusic became music 35-100 kya
  – with reflective consciousness (Noble & Davidson)
  – during cultural explosion (Mithen)
   Prediction (1)
Prenatally hearing animals e.g.
   –   primates
   –   sheep, goats
   –   guinea pigs
   –   whales, seals, walrus?

   – associate prenatal
   – imitate complex sound & movement
     patterns (Merker)
     Prediction (2)
Ultrasound images of fetal face
    in 3rd trimester (Kurjak)

    should in part reflect
   maternal emotional state
             Conclusion (1)
A theory of music as a
byproduct of prenatal auditory-vestibular-
proprioceptive function and bonding
is consistent with music’s
     – universality
     – emotional power
     – structures (rhythmic, melodic, harmonic)
     – specific universal characteristics
         •   individual, social
         •   personal, spiritual, religious
         •   pain reducing, healing, entrancing
                 Conclusion (2)
Prenatal byproduct theory is complementary
to other theories of music’s origins such as
   –   extended vocalisation (Sachs, Wallin...)
   –   playful imitation (Cazden, Dissanayake, Tolbert...)
   –   cognitive-motor training (Roederer)
   –   social glue (Cross, Huron...)

• no contradiction
• clearer separation of origin and function
          Conclusion (3)
    Prenatal conditioning may represent
       the ultimate origin of music

but may not explain individual differences
      in music behaviors and abilities

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