A Concert for Pigs!
Think about your favorite song. How does it make you feel? Excited? Calm? Happy? We tend to think of music as a human experience, but it turns out we might not be the only beings to have a favorite song! At the University of Calgary, scientists have been playing tunes for pigs and finding an interesting response.
Of course, people have seen a connection between animals and music for a long time. You can easily find some birds dancing along to pop songs online and maybe you've noticed your pet takes a liking to a certain tune. However, a comprehensive study with empirical data is new territory.
Different litters of pigs were played samples of music in a random order and their body language was tracked by a qualitative behavior assessment. This method is capable of detecting specific changes in the pigs stress levels in an accurate way. As it turned out, consonant music expressed curiosity and calmness in the animals, whereas dissonant pieces raised their anxieties. Think of it like how a horror movie might use jarring chords to put you on edge.
This research put into practice would be a great way to provide easy new enrichment and raises further questions about the emotional intelligence of animals. And of course, there's a super cute video of the pigs in the study!