Preference for consonant music over dissonant music by an infant chimpanzee

Tasuku Sugimoto, Hiromi Kobayashi, Noritomo Nobuyoshi, Yasushi Kiriyama, Hideko Takeshita, Tomoyasu Nakamura, Kazuhide Hashiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


It has been shown that humans prefer consonant sounds from the early stages of development. From a comparative psychological perspective, although previous studies have shown that birds and monkeys can discriminate between consonant and dissonant sounds, it remains unclear whether nonhumans have a spontaneous preference for consonant music over dissonant music as humans do. We report here that a five-month-old human-raised chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) preferred consonant music. The infant chimpanzee consistently preferred to produce, with the aid of our computerized setup, consonant versions of music for a longer duration than dissonant versions. This result suggests that the preference for consonance is not unique to humans. Further, it supports the hypothesis that one major basis of musical appreciation has some evolutionary origins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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