Genomic Imprinting Is Implicated in the Psychology of Music
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CitationMehr, Samuel A., Jennifer Kotler, Rhea M. Howard, David Haig, and Max M. Krasnow. 2017. Genomic Imprinting Is Implicated in the Psychology of Music. Psychological Science 28, no. 10: 1455-467.
AbstractWhy do people sing to babies? Human infants are relatively altricial and need their parents’ attention to survive. Infant-directed song may constitute a signal of that attention. In Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a rare disorder of genomic imprinting, genes from chromosome 15q11–q13 that are typically paternally expressed are unexpressed, which results in exaggeration of traits that reduce offspring’s investment demands on the mother. PWS may thus be associated with a distinctive musical phenotype. We report unusual responses to music in people with PWS. Subjects with PWS (N = 39) moved more during music listening, exhibited greater reductions in heart rate in response to music listening, and displayed a specific deficit in pitch-discrimination ability relative to typically developing adults and children (N = 589). Paternally expressed genes from 15q11–q13, which are unexpressed in PWS, may thus increase demands for music and enhance perceptual sensitivity to music. These results implicate genomic imprinting in the psychology of music, informing theories of music’s evolutionary history.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41275756
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