Vol 5, Issue 2, May 2018

Music preference in degus (Octodon degus): Analysis with Chilean folk music


Watanabe, S., Braun, K., Mensch, M., & Scheich, H. (2018). Music preference in degus (Octodon degus): Analysis with Chilean folk music. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 5(2), 201–208. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.


Most nonhuman animals do not show selective preference for types of music, but researchers have typically employed only Western classical music in such studies. Thus, there has been bias in music choice. Degus (Octodon degus), originally from the mountain areas of Chile, have highly developed vocal communication. Here, we examined music preference of degus using not only Western classical music (music composed by Bach and Stravinsky), but also South American folk music (Chilean and Peruvian). The degus preferred the South American music to the Western classical music but did not show selective preference between the two Western classical music choices. Furthermore, the degus preferred the Chilean to the Peruvian music to some extent. In the second experiment, we examined preference for music vs. silence. Degus overall showed a preference for Chilean music over silence, but preferred silence over Western music. The present results indicate that the previous negative data for musical preference in nonhuman animals may be due to biased music selection (Krause, 2012). Our results suggest the possibility that the soundscape of an environment influences folk music created by native peoples living there and the auditory preference of other resident animals there.


Degu, Music preference, Chilean music, Reinforcement