Musicality and Bioacoustics

This group merges music and biology to study the origins of music through cross-species studies. Like language, music is found in all cultures around the world. Even isolated cultures have music, and all musical systems share important parallels such as the use of discrete notes and a steady beat.

Here we study other animals to try and understand what aspects of music are uniquely human and why humans may have developed these abilities. Specifically, here are some active research directions of the group:

  • Cross-species tests using operant conditioning to train and test human and non-human animal sound categorization
  • Cross-species tests of the preferences for different sounds
  • Bioacoustic analysis of animal vocalizations using linguistics and computational methods

The budgerigar laboratory facilities are currently in the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna where we also have collaborations with some of the other species that are housed there.