Music as a Cultural Inheritance System: A Contextual-Behavioral Model of Symbolism, Meaning, and the Value of Music

Rehfeldt, R. A., Tyndall, I. and Belisle, J. (2021) Music as a Cultural Inheritance System: A Contextual-Behavioral Model of Symbolism, Meaning, and the Value of Music. Behavior and Social Issues, 71. pp. 291-306. ISSN 1064-9506

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Abstract

Music is a pervasive cultural practice that has been present in ancient civilizations through to the present, yet its evolutionary significance has not been unequivocally determined. One position suggests that evolution favored music-related behaviors because such behaviors were linked to sexual selection and reproduction. A more recent perspective that is consistent with today’s evolutionary science framework suggests that music is a cultural-level adaptation because of the survival advantages it affords members of a community. This paper explores the selection mechanisms responsible for the retention and transmission of music-related behaviors. Music is proposed to be a complex symbolic inheritance system, or an advanced form of relational responding, that required cooperation to develop and further facilitated unity and affinity among groups of people. The aggregate product of this cooperation is then assigned meaning and selected by the contingencies of a particular sociocultural community. Music may thus occasion similar values-consistent behavior (i.e., within the values system of the community) across groups of people. Implications for the role of music in promoting the well-being of a culture are examined.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Rehfeldt, R.A., Tyndall, I. & Belisle, J. Music as a Cultural Inheritance System: A Contextual-Behavioral Model of Symbolism, Meaning, and the Value of Music. Behav. Soc. Iss. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42822-021-00084-w
Uncontrolled Keywords: Music, evolutionary science, relational responding, selection by consequence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Psychology
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Depositing User: Ian Tyndall
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2021 13:05
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2022 01:10
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/6093

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