Songs are learned beginning in infancy and seem to exist in most human cultures. Song-like behaviors also characterize the lives of certain nonhuman animals, such as songbirds and whales, where vocal traditions also persist and change across generations via various modes of transmission. How are songs shaped by the ways in which they are acquired, and what methods are available to study these processes?
This conference will provide a venue for examining cultural transmission from diverse perspectives within the social and natural sciences as well as the humanities. While focusing on songs in humans and birds, a wide range of social behaviors, including gesture and language, will also be considered. The conference will explore ‘song’ in relation to social memory; the conditions which make cultural transmission possible; the role of aesthetics in the generational turnover of learned behaviors across species; and the social ecologies in which songs are created and recreated.
Ian Cross, Professor of Music and Science, Chair of the Faculty Board of Music, and Director, Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge James Cahill, Postdoctoral Associate, Erich Jarvis Lab, Rockefeller University Emily Doolittle, Athenaeum Research Fellow, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Olga Feher, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Warwick Molly Flaherty, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology, Swarthmore College Tom Griffiths, Henry R. Luce Professor of Information Technology, Consciousness, and Culture, Princeton University Gary Lupyan, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison Eduardo Mercado III, Professor of Psychology, University at Buffalo Julien Meyer, CNRS Researcher, GIPSA-lab Adeline Mueller, Assistant Professor of Music, Mount Holyoke College Rachel Mundy, Assistant Professor of Music in the Arts, Culture, and Media Program, Rutgers University Richard Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University Andrea Ravignani, Pegasus Marie Curie Fellow, Sealcentre Pieterburen and Postdoctoral Researcher, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Vrije Universiteit Brussel David Rothenberg, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Music, New Jersey Institute of Technology Jon Sakata, Associate Professor of Biology, McGill University Kenny Smith, Professor of Linguistics and English Language, University of Edinburgh Jordan Suchow, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, Stevens Institute of Technology Ofer Tchernichovski, Professor of Psychology, Hunter College Gary Tomlinson, John Hay Whitney Professor of Music and the Humanities and Director, Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University Tessa Verhoef, Assistant Professor, Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science and Visiting Scholar, Center for Research in Language, University of California, San Diego Heather Williams, William Dwight Whitney Professor of Biology, Williams College
Brian Boyd, Professor of Anthropology, Director of Museum Anthropology, and Program Director of the Columbia Center for Archaeology, Columbia University