When singers sing high notes, their eyebrows go higher than when they sing low notes. While that may not be an absolute physiological rule, a team of Danish and American researchers discovered that it happens pretty consistently. They lay out the evidence, and explain what it may mean, in a study called Facial Expression and Vocal Pitch Height: Evidence of an Intermodal Association, published in 2009 in the journal, Empirical Musicology Review.
When scientists tackle a new question, they begin with the knowledge that finding the answer – if there is an answer – might entail lengthy, slogging effort. Some questions take years to settle. Some take decades. The eyebrow/high-note evidence comes from “an experiment lasting less than one minute”.
Sofia Dahl [pictured here] at Aalborg University Copenhagen, and David Huron and Randolph Johnson at Ohio State University, ran their experiment 44 times, each with a different volunteer….
So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.
BONUS: Next week Sofia Dahl will perform in the Ig Nobel tour of Scandinavia, explaining this very topic.