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Prenatal behavioural and

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					Prenatal behavioural and
 biochemical emotional
    communication
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
             Question
How does music induce emotion? (Juslin)

            Hypothesis
   Music is a byproduct of prenatal
auditory, vestibular and proprioceptive
                 function
       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
Pallas:
    Pre- and postnatal sensory experience shapes functional architecture in the brain
Lecanuet, Granier-Deferre, DeCasper:
    Are we expecting too much from prenatal experiences?
Schaal:
    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
(Pinker)
     – 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?
  (Smotherman)
 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
             communication
Internal maternal sound and movement patterns
  –   vocalization
  –   respiration
  –   circulation
  –   impacts (footsteps)
  –   movement
  –   digestion
All depend on maternal (emotional) state
         Prenatal biochemical
           communication
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
                  prenatal      107 – 108      20 weeks
  classical
                  audition      years ago      gestation
conditioning
                walk + big
  postnatal
                  brain         106 – 107
   operant                                       birth
                altriciality   years ago
conditioning
                motherese
  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?
                      Evidence
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?


...should...
   – associate prenatal
     sound↔movement↔emotion
   – 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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posted:1/4/2013
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