Move over, math. The universal language is world music.

A new study finds that societies use the same acoustic features for the same types of songs, suggesting universal cognitive mechanisms underpinning world music.

  • Every culture in the world creates music, though stylistic diversity hides their core similarities.
  • A new study in Science finds that cultures use identifiable acoustic features in the same types of songs and that tonality exists worldwide.
  • Music is one of hundreds of human universals ethnographers have discovered.
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Not sure what to do with your life? You're on a path to success.

In David Epstein's 'Range', dabblers and dillettantes are ascendant.

  • There are more paths to professional success than practicing for 10,000 hours, says David Epstein.
  • In his new book 'Range', the author illustrates the benefits of being a generalist in a specialized world.
  • While the conclusions are good news, they're not as surprising as Epstein might believe.
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If machines want to make art, will humans understand it?

Empathy is what allows us to understand works of art, right?

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images for Barbican Art Gallery

Assuming that the emergence of consciousness in artificial minds is possible, those minds will feel the urge to create art.

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Why ceasing to be creative is a mistake

Even drawing stick figures has its benefits.

  • Many of us stop making art at a young age, convinced, perhaps, that we just don't have the talent for it.
  • This belief, however, may be wrong, and the benefits that producing art can bring aren't contingent on talent.
  • Is creating art an activity that all of us should pursue? Can artistic skill be taught?
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Why are people sexually attracted to cartoons? Evolution.

Nikolaas Tinbergen's concept of "supernormal stimulus" explains why humans are attracted to a heightened version of reality.

(Photo: Walt Disney Pictures)
  • According to Pornhub's annual statistics, "hentai" and "cartoons" were among the most popular categories in 2018.
  • Such pornography is a supernormal stimulus, an artificial object that triggers an animal's instinctual response more intensely than natural analogs.
  • Supernormal stimuli not only explain our heightened response to pornography, but also art, junk food, and social media.
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