Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Music is good brain food

Wired News has an interview with rock producer turned neuroscientist Daniel Levitin regarding how the brain reacts to music. Mr. Levitin has been doing this for about 16 years, and is an associate professor at McGill University in Montreal. According to Wired, he's considered one of the worlds leading experts in cognitive music perception. He says:
Through studies of music and the brain, we've learned to map out specific areas involved in emotion, timing and perception -- and production of sequences. [...] What we're learning about the part in the frontal lobe called BA47 is the most exciting. Music suggests that it's a region that helps us predict what comes next in a sequence.
He also goes onto describe that "music activates the same parts of the brain and causes the same neurochemical cocktail as a lot of other pleasurable activities like orgasms or eating chocolate." Sure, that's something that many of us have suspected for a while, but now we have a neuroscientist to back up that notion.

Link (via Boing Boing)

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Blogger Kali Chung said...

I used to study for midterms & finals while cranking on the classical station. Yay! My average GPA was 4.5 throughout high school. ^_^ G;ad I found you!

Wed Aug 23, 05:25:00 PM PDT  
Blogger OhPunk! said...

Very interesting study -- seen that before! Seems to give me a boost during the office hours too..

** Shaun **
My awesome blog:


Thu Aug 24, 04:37:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Manimala said...

True, I think that many such things do stimulate the brain and better neurological activity, but I must say that most of the "studies" relating to this health matter and other similar ones are inherently flawed. They presuppose their conclusions and ignore confounding variables in order to affirm their hypotheses. It might help if we knew the actual methods used in this study before we believe the conclusion.

For instance, if one study "confirms" that red wine is good for the heart, and another study "confirms" that red wine is bad for the heart, it seems clear that both can't be true at the same time, but both are so certain about their results. It goes to show that "science" isn't really objective at all particularly because of our bias in constructing hypotheses and selecting significance levels for tests.

Nice blog, though. Check out mine.

Sat Aug 26, 03:57:00 AM PDT  
Blogger brad77 said...

Thanks for the comment, Devdas. I suppose that if you'd like to know more about Mr. Levitin's methods, his book'd be a good place to start. I think that the crux of the problem you bring up lies in how the results are interpreted (either by the media or the scientists themselves). So often, a study result is distilled to a single bullet point when the actual conclusion is usually much more ambiguous.

So what to do? Dismiss it outright? That won't do us much good. As a music lover, I have to say that personal experience lends credence to Mr. Levitin’s position. Maybe I'd be able to have a better informed position after doing my own research.

I think that you bring up an important point, though. Until we know about the studies themselves, we need to approach them with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Sun Aug 27, 12:02:00 PM PDT  

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