In a recent Nature paper, McDermott et al. (2016) conclude that the perception of consonance arises from familiarity with the conventions of Western harmonic music and is relatively unconstrained by auditory neurobiology. We refute this idea, citing cross-cultural, developmental and comparative evidence to the contrary, and raising concerns over McDermott et al.'s methodology. We conclude that although familiarity plays an important role in shaping tonal preferences, it must not be cast in opposition to clear biological constraints. Biology and culture (nature and nurture) interact to shape how we experience music, and theories that neglect the former do so at their peril.

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