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You are here: McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind > Publications > The development of evaluative responses to music: Infants prefer to listen to consonance over dissonance

Laurel J Trainor and Becky M Heinmiller (1998)

The development of evaluative responses to music: Infants prefer to listen to consonance over dissonance

Infant Behavior and Development, 21(1):77–88.

In Experiment 1, 6-month-old infants looked longer in order to listen to a set of consonant intervals than to a set of dissonant intervals. In Experiment 2, infants preferred to listen to the original version of a Mozart minuet than to a version altered to contain many dissonant intervals. Thus, although infants do not yet have the musical-system-specific knowledge of scale structure that is involved in adults' emotional reactions to music, infants are similar to adults in their evaluative reactions to consonance and dissonance.

infant, consonance, auditory perception, music preference, dissonance