Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More on laughing rats...and human chanting?

This is a sequel to my March 20 and June 18, 2007, posts on laughing rats. Rats use ultrasonic communication, with 50-kHz vocalizations indicating an animal's positive subjective state. Wöhr and Schwarting now show that show that 50-kHz signals (either natural 50-kHz calls, which had been previously recorded from other rats, or artificial sine wave stimuli, which were identical to these calls with respect to peak frequency, call length and temporal appearance) can induce approach behaviors. The effect is more pronounced in juvenile rats. It is commonly assumed that humans have lost this mechanism, but I wonder if the powerful bonding emotions induced in groups of humans doing very low frequency vocal chants, which surely have harmonics in the 50-mHz range, might be a evolutionary derivative of this early mammalian behavior . Here are several Tibetan master chants offered by the free sound project. Do they chill you out?

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