Book on Music and Evolution Brings Perspective to Claims for Effects on Intelligence and Brain Development

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Does music have an evolutionary purpose? Why We Like Music: Ear, Emotion, Evolution, a new contribution by Italian science journalist Silvia Bencivelli to the fascinating literature on music and the brain, evenly surveys the whole range of recent studies and the different conclusions they suggest.

How, when, and why did human beings develop brains and bodies with such marvelously precise and complex abilities to hear, make, and enjoy music? In her new book, Why We Like Music, Silvia Bencivelli investigates the fascinating new science of music in search of answers. Ranging widely through discoveries in acoustics, emotion, healing, cognition, neuroscience, and infant development, she covers the state of the art in research about our relationship with music and presents several possible conclusions.

Why We Like Music ($17.99/$9.99 electronic editions) is an English translation scheduled for worldwide release 21 September by Music Word Media Group, a New York publisher of books and transmedia titles about music. The English version is based on an Italian edition of 2007 that has already appeared in French and will be published in Spanish in 2012.

Bencivelli paints vivid and human pictures of the scientists involved in the search for answers to some of the deepest questions of human development. She gives clear insight into their motivations, and examines their methods and rationale for carrying out experimental tests of various kinds. Her natural command of science and medicine and experience interpreting these technical subjects in her work for television and radio allows her to explain briefly for general readers how disputes have arisen and been settled, often over highly technical details.

Parents of young children will be particularly interested in her discussion of the so-called "Mozart effect"−for which extravagant claims of improvements in intelligence have been made. Reporting a controversy played out in Nature, Neuroscience Letters, and other journals over several years, Bencivelli carefully adjudicates claims made with rigorous methodology and others based on pseudoscience.

Silvia Bencivelli is a medical and science journalist who reports and presents for Italian radio and TV. She was an Armenise-Harvard Fellow and was awarded the 2010 Tomassetti prize for science journalism.

Studies of music and the brain have recently attracted intense interest leading to the success of recent books by Daniel J. Levitin, John M. Ortiz, Aniruddh D. Patel, Oliver Sacks, Michael H. Thaut, and others. Bencivelli’s distinctive contribution is a broad and inclusive approach, and an easy writing style intended to introduce non-specialist readers to the ways scientists formulate questions and look for answers in this new and fascinating field.

The book is available to the public from Amazon at and to the trade through Ingram Book Group. For more detail and a free sample chapter, visit For information about the publisher, see,, and

Contact: Melanie Hegge, VP for Engagement Strategies, Music Word Media Group, at publicity(at)musicwordmedia(dot)net.

Music Word Media® Group Ltd curates three new imprints that present music-related publications to a wide range of users in the formats and technologies that suit them best. The company's global network of experts in music, technologies, rights, publishing, and business, based in New York, London, and elsewhere, is coordinated from a headquarters in Hudson, NY. Follow @musicwordmedia on Twitter for news.


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