Table 1 Cross-cultural associations between song and other behaviors.

We tested 20 hypothesized associations between song and other behaviors by comparing the frequency of a behavior in song-related passages to that in comparably-sized samples of text from the same sources that are not about song. Behavior was identified with two methods: topic annotations from the Outline of Cultural Materials (“OCM identifiers”) and automatic detection of related keywords (“WordNet seed words”; see table S19). Significance tests compared the frequencies in the passages in the full Probability Sample File containing song-related keywords (“Song freq.”) with the frequencies in a simulated null distribution of passages randomly selected from the same documents (“Null freq.”). ***P < 0.001, **P < 0.01, *P < 0.05, using adjusted P values (88); 95% intervals for the null distribution are in parentheses.

HypothesisOCM identifier(s)Song freq.Null freq.WordNet seed word(s)Song freq.Null freq.
DanceDANCE1499***431
(397, 467)
dance11,145***3283
(3105, 3468)
InfancyINFANT CARE63*44
(33, 57)
infant, baby, cradle, lullaby688**561
(491, 631)
HealingMAGICAL AND MENTAL THERAPY; SHAMANS AND PSYCHOTHERAPISTS; MEDICAL THERAPY; MEDICAL CARE1651***1063
(1004, 1123)
heal, shaman, sick, cure3983***2466
(2317, 2619)
Religious activitySHAMANS AND PSYCHOTHERAPISTS; RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE; PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES; PURIFICATION AND ATONEMENT; ECSTATIC RELIGIOUS PRACTICES; REVELATION AND DIVINATION; RITUAL3209***2212
(2130, 2295)
religious, spiritual, ritual8644***5521
(5307, 5741)
PlayGAMES; CHILDHOOD ACTIVITIES377***277
(250, 304)
play, game, child, toy4130***2732
(2577, 2890)
ProcessionSPECTACLES; NUPTIALS371***213
(188, 240)
wedding, parade, march, procession, funeral, coronation2648***1495
(1409, 1583)
MourningBURIAL PRACTICES AND FUNERALS; MOURNING; SPECIAL BURIAL PRACTICES AND FUNERALS924***517
(476, 557)
mourn, death, funeral3784***2511
(2373, 2655)
RitualRITUAL187***99
(81, 117)
ritual, ceremony8520**5138
(4941, 5343)
EntertainmentSPECTACLES44***20
(12, 29)
entertain, spectacle744***290
(256, 327)
ChildrenCHILDHOOD ACTIVITIES178***108
(90, 126)
child4351***3471
(3304, 3647)
Mood/emotionsDRIVES AND EMOTIONS219***138
(118, 159)
mood, emotion, emotive796***669
(607, 731)
WorkLABOR AND LEISURE137***60
(47, 75)
work, labor3500**3223
(3071, 3378)
StorytellingVERBAL ARTS; LITERATURE736***537
(506, 567)
story, history, myth2792***2115
(1994, 2239)
Greeting visitorsVISITING AND HOSPITALITY360***172
(148, 196)
visit, greet, welcome1611***1084
(1008, 1162)
WarWARFARE264283
(253, 311)
war, battle, raid3154***2254
(2122, 2389)
PraiseSTATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE385355
(322, 388)
praise, admire, acclaim481***302
(267, 339)
LoveARRANGING A MARRIAGE158140
(119, 162)
love, courtship1625***804
(734, 876)
Group bondingSOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND GROUPS141163
(141, 187)
bond, cohesion1582***1424
(1344, 1508)
Marriage/weddingsNUPTIALS327***193
(169, 218)
marriage, wedding20112256
(2108, 2410)
Art/creationN/An/an/aart, creation905***694
(630, 757)