BEIJING, Sept. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Monkeys prefer heavy
metal to classical music, according to researchers at the University of
Wisconsin whose findings are published this week in Biology Letters.
Scientists played a selection of music to a group of
cotton-top tamarin monkeys but the only tunes that got a reaction were from the
heavy metal band Metallica. They were seemingly disinterested in Led Zeppelin,
Miles Davis and Bach, but after the dulcet tones of Master of Puppets by
Metallica was played the tamarins calmed down.
"Monkeys interpret rising and falling tones
differently than humans. Oddly, their only response to several samples of human
music was a calming response to the heavy-metal band Metallica," said Professor
Charles Snowdon, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Rather than making them agitated or aggressive, the
heavy metal tracks had a soothing effect. Dr Snowdon, who teamed up with
National Symphony Orchestra cellist David Teie, also played the monkeys tunes
composed specifically for them. Although they enjoyed Metallica, they were much
more interested in these pieces.
A melody based on the short calls of scared monkeys
led to anxiety levels soaring, researchers found, while one based on long calls
the creatures make when they are happy had a calming effect.
Frans B.M. de Waal, a professor of psychology at
Emory University who studies primates, said the findings appear to say more
about how monkeys respond to the sounds they make than they do about music or
the evolution of music.
Dr Snowdon no longer has a monkey colony to use in
his research, but he said his co-author David Teie is exploring the concept of
music for cats.
"If we understand how we can affect their emotional
states through using musical tones and aspects of our speech, maybe those of us
living with companion animals can have a better relationship with them, too,"