Journal of Undergraduate Research


speech, song, religious music, neurological approach




Comparative Arts and Letters


The relationship between speech and song has been an area of interest in evolutionary biology and neuroscience over the past two decades. Some evolutionary biologists have hypothesized that music and language descended from a protolanguage in early human communication (Brown 2000). At the same time, developments in technology have made it possible to analyze the activation of different parts of the brain, allowing us to see traces of this evolutionary history in the neural pathways of the brain (Patel 2008). Recent studies on language-music relationships both support and contradict the theory of a common protolanguage base for music and language (see Schon 2010, Peretz 1994, and Orellana 2014). Using fMRI scans, we can measure the neural activity and see if the same or different pathways are used for speech and song.