The Natural History of Music

Available now! 6-week course on the evolution of music with Dr. Connor Wood

Dates: Jan. 5th – Feb 9th

Time: Weekly on Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm (Eastern Time)


Music is a human universal, but most other animals can’t even keep a simple beat. Why? This course examines the evolutionary backstory of our species’ unique musical abilities, particularly our ability to perceive and keep in time to auditory rhythms. Examining insights from comparative biology, cognitive science, and philosophy, we’ll consider what functions — if any — music plays in human culture and psychology, and we’ll learn to apply basic evolutionary reasoning to core questions of human nature. Explore the natural foundations of humanity’s “universal language.”


About the instructor: An expert in the biology and cognitive science of music, Dr. Connor Wood received his PhD from Boston University in 2016. His dissertation focused on the role of collective rhythm in ritual. Dr. Wood’s passion is uniting rigorous scientific and humanistic perspectives on questions about human nature.



Scholarium is an initiative for pursuing the love of learning beyond the formal university setting. Classes and lectures are led by world-class experts with graduate training across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Cultivating a passion for knowledge in students and teachers alike, Scholarium is knowledge, reimagined.




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