Home of authentic species-specific music: the NY Times #1 idea of 2009

Institutions / Universities


David traveled to Madison to observe and record hours of calls of the cotton-topped tamarin monkeys there. The first tests of species-specific music were undertaken in the Psychology department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the supervision of the renowned primatologist Dr. Charles Snowdon. The results of the first test were revealed at a symposium on non-human mammalian vocalizations in Hanover, Germany in September of 2007. The reception from the conference attendees was enthusiastic, leading to an offer from the organizer to submit the research for inclusion in the series on emotion published by Oxford University Press.

These first tests were replicated with new “human music” controls and new species-specific music. The results, although somewhat different from the first, showed the same basic trends as the first tests: general indifference to human music while significant and appropriate responses (i.e. they were calmed by the calming music) were observed from the species-specific music.


Erica Kennedy is currently undertaking another study of the effects of species-specific music on cotton-topped tamarin monkeys at Frostburg State University in Maryland. We will be testing types of music that are designed to be uplifting for them. We are also hoping to discover if the presence of human music causes an appreciable change in the calming effect of the ballad music.


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