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Open Access Effects of Two Types and Two Genre of Music on Social Behavior in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

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Is music just noise, and thus potentially harmful to laboratory animals, or can it have a beneficial effect? Research addressing this question has generated mixed results, perhaps because of the different types and styles of music used across various studies. The purpose of this study was to test the effects of 2 different types (vocal versus instrumental) and 2 genres (classical vocal versus 'easy-listening' vocal) of music on social behavior in 31 female and 26 male chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Results indicated that instrumental music was more effective at increasing affiliative behavior in both male and female chimpanzees, whereas vocal music was more effective at decreasing agonistic behavior. A comparison of 2 genre of vocal music indicated that easy-listening (slower tempo) vocal music was more effective at decreasing agonistic behavior in male chimpanzees than classical (faster tempo) vocal music. Agonistic behavior in females remained low (<0.5%) throughout the study and was unaffected by music. These results indicate that, like humans, captive chimpanzees react differently to various types and genres of music. The reactions varied depending on both the sex of the subject and the type of social behavior examined. Management programs should consider both type and genre when implementing a musical enrichment program for nonhuman primates.

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Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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