Studies Attempt To Prove That Animals Enjoy Music In The Same Manner As Humans

Why do animals like music? Scientists believe it’s built in, it’s universal. They like it for the same reasons we like it, it feels right.

Trace Dominguez of DNews posits the question “Do Animals Enjoy Music“? Studies have demonstrated that birds tend to use tonal and percussive patterns similar to those in jazz music, while a 2001 article in The New York Times stated that humpback whales tend to vocalize in the ternary form (A-B-A) often utilized by The Beatles. As Trace notes, both birds and whales have the ability to make sounds that are not musical, but seemingly prefer not to do so. Cows are no exception, but prefer to show their love of music through milk production.

A study done in 2001 on English cows found that when cows were played songs while being milked, the speed of the music affected how much mile was being produced. Specifically, the cows liked slow jams. Fast songs at over 120 beats per second (bps) caused milk production to drop. But slow songs that were under 100 bps increased production by 3% per day.

The answer to the question is that there is no answer as scientists disagree as to the existence of a specific place in the brain that focuses on music per the 2001 New York Times article.

Dr. Peretz’s results suggest that the brain has something specifically designed to process music, although the precise location or nature of such a do-re-mi keeper remains unknown. On the other hand, Dr. Mark Jude Tramo, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, argues in the second Science paper that neuroimaging studies of people performing or listening to music have failed to find a ”music center” in the brain devoted strictly to music cognition.

Either way, I’m sure many of us will keep singing and playing music to our animals, because we know they clearly understand what we’re saying.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.