Tuesday, June 05, 2012

"This Is Your Brain on Music"

The Sosotho verb for singing (ho bina), as in many of the world’s languages, also means to dance; there is no distinction, since it is assumed that singing involved bodily movement. (7)

Mothers throughout the world, and as far as back in time as we can imagine, have used soft singing to soothe their babies to sleep, or to distract them from something that has made them cry. (9)

The Harvard neuroscientist Gottfried Schlaug has shown that the front portion of the corpus callosum – the mass of fibers connecting the two cerebral hemispheres – is significantly large in musicians than non-musicians, and particularly for musicians who began their training early. This reinforces the notion that musical operations become bilateral with increased training, as musicians coordinate and recruit neural structures in both the left and right hemispheres. (226)

In general, we tend to remember things that have an emotional component because our amygdala and neurotransmitters act in concert to “tag” the memories as something important. (231)

Levitin, Daniel J. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. New York, N.Y: Dutton, 2006. Print.

Images from "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of A Human Obsession" by Daniel J. Levitin (2006), participant in the World Science Festival 2012.
"Music of the Hemispheres" by Clive Thompson (December 31, 2006, NYTimes)
"Music Makes Your Brain Happy" by Randy Dotinga (August 23, 2006, WIRED)

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