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Posts Tagged "music"

Beautiful Minds

The Mind of the Prodigy

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Prodigies dazzle us with their virtuoso violin concertos, seemingly prescient chess moves, and vivid paintings. While their work would be enough to impress us if they were 40, prodigies typically reach adult levels of performance in non-verbal, rule-based domains such as chess, art, and music before the age of 10. Their performances are hard to [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Why Education Needs More Radioactive Spiders

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Education needs more radioactive spiders. Stay with me. Remember Peter Parker? His childhood wasn’t easy. Both of his parents– Richard and Mary– were killed on a mission as double agents. Raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens, Peter spent most of his childhood without an identity. Now, Peter was a good student. [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Profiling Serial Creators

bored_student

Every single day, all across the globe, extraordinarily creative and talented students sit in our classrooms bored out of their minds. These budding innovators may differ drastically in what particular domain captivates their attention, whether it’s science and engineering, architecture and design, arts, music and entertainment, business and finance, law, or health care. Nevertheless, as Richard Florida [...]

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Food Matters

The Sound (And Taste) Of Music

SoundTasteofMusic

It’s said that a person can have good taste in music but what about the taste of music? What would it taste like? Experimental psychologist Charles Spence and researchers at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford may be able to provide some insight. The lab explores how the five senses–touch, taste, smell, [...]

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Food Matters

Brief Musical Interlude (Or, Bias)

The album cover (I took that photo!)

Let’s talk about bias for a minute. My fiancée, Rachel Rynick, just released her first album, and I think it’s awesome. Of course, my opinion on this matter can’t really be trusted. First, I would likely say this even if I didn’t believe it. Second, even though we haven’t combined our finances, her success obviously [...]

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Guest Blog

Confirmation Bias and Art

By now, our overwhelming tendency to look for what confirms our beliefs and ignore what contradicts our beliefs is well documented. Psychologists refer to this as confirmation bias, and its ubiquity is observed in both academia and in our everyday lives: Republicans watch Fox while Democrats watch MSNB; creationists see fossils as evidence of God, [...]

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Guest Blog

To Turn Up the Music, Cochlear Implants Need a Software Update

While you’re humming along to the Talking Heads, I’d like to consider another group who can listen to the Talking Heads without really hearing them. For a person with a cochlear implant, a surgically implanted device that restores hearing in someone who is profoundly deaf, listening to music isn’t the rich, sensory experience that a [...]

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Guest Blog

Rockin’ scientists: N.Y.U. brain researchers put down their data sets, then get down with their rock band

The Countdowns

You might be surprised if you knew just how many scientists out there play in rock bands. When the sun goes down, garages, basements and living rooms throughout the land are filled with guys and gals who have shed their lab coats and strapped on their guitars. Take me, for instance—a mild mannered, middle-aged neuroscientist [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Sight and Sound: An Evening with John Williams and Steven Spielberg

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We’re sitting in the front row of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, listening to the musicians warm up for the dress rehearsal of tonight’s benefit concert starring John Williams, his movie music, and guest starring Steven Spielberg.

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MIND Guest Blog

Creativity, Madness and Drugs

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Genius, Suicide and Mental Illness: Insights into a Deep Connection San Diego—Would we have Poe’s Raven today if the tormented author had taken lithium to suppress his bipolar illness? Not likely, considering the high frequency of psychiatric illnesses among writers and artists, concluded psychiatrist Kay Jamison of Johns [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

The Ancient Marriage between Music, Movement and Mood

Think back to that moment when you first heard your favorite song. What about it made you stop in your tracks? Was it the incessant buildup, soaring high, filling you with a sense of elation? The flirty high notes, light as wings, bringing a bounce in your step? Or the rumbling base drop, furiously cascading, [...]

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Observations

Sea Lion Bops to the Beat, Challenging Popular Rhythm Theory

ronan the sea lion

Remember Snowball, the cockatoo who won the internet with his dancing skills? Well, now there’s a new animal keeping the beat alive. Meet Ronan, the California sea lion who bops her head in time to Boogie Wonderland and other tunes (see video below). Few species apart from humans have demonstrated a sense of rhythm, and [...]

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Observations

A “Just Right” Guitar

The MTV Video Music Awards are being broadcast tonight. Since 1984, these awards have recognized the top popular musicians, videos, and songs each year. Young musicians who dream of one day having their very own “Moonman” statue might be interested in getting the best guitar for their money. Luckily, science is here to help. Kazutaka [...]

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Observations

Is Pop Music Evolving, or Is It Just Getting Louder?

Classic record jukebox

Music just ain’t what it used to be. At least, that’s the stereotypical lament of each receding generation of music listeners. It’s also one way to read a new study on the evolution of pop music in the past half-century. A group of researchers undertook a quantitative analysis of nearly half a million songs to [...]

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Observations

Animal Tracks: Music about Unusual Creatures Features Some Unusual Instruments [Video]

dugong, underwater photo

Michael Hearst seems to enjoy making music with a purpose. About five years ago the Brooklyn, N.Y., musician made headlines with a pretty self-explanatory record called Songs for Ice Cream Trucks. Since then, he and his band One Ring Zero have released an album-long ode to the planets (including Pluto), as well as a record [...]

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Observations

Exploring the Musical Brain at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting

graphic showing musical notes

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Wandering through what seems like miles of presentations, posters, and excited scientists at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting, I can’t help but overhear a lot. Conversations about everything from the ventral medial prefrontal cortex to fMRI; social rewards to serotonin. There is something about the buzzing hum of thousands of voices and [...]

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Observations

Vote for the Most Annoying Ear Worm [Poll]

We solicited readers’ nominations for the most annoying earworms yesterday via Facebook. We winnowed the list and now are presenting the poll below to ask readers to vote for the worst, most tiresome earworm plaguing us, thanks to supermarket music, radio and TV jingles, waiting room speakers and so on. Vote now to see the [...]

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Observations

The Science of Ear Worms, or Why You Can’t Get That Damn Song out of Your Head

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They go by many names: Brain worms, sticky music (thanks Oliver Sacks), cognitive itch, stuck song syndrome. But the most common (if also the most repugnant) is earworms, a literal translation from Ohrwurm, a term used to describe the phenomenon (and perhaps bring to mind an immediate association with corn earworms). If you’re an academic, [...]

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Observations

Brain on Beauty Shows the Same Pattern for Art and Music

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The search for beauty has spurred great works of art and music, lengthy philosophical treatises and decades of dense cultural criticism. So, is beauty in the object? The eye of the beholder? Somewhere in between? The time has come "for neurobiology to tackle these fundamental questions," Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at University College London, said [...]

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Observations

The Real Explosions in the Sky: Supernovae Translated into Music [Video]

Tycho

What does a supernova sound like? Hopefully we will never find out directly—getting within earshot of an exploding star is probably a bad idea. But a pair of researchers has nonetheless devised a way to represent supernovae in an auditory way, and the result is a rather interesting piece of abstract music. University of Victoria [...]

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Observations

What does HIV sound like? [Audio]

sounds of hiv dna music album

There is no question that HIV is an ugly virus in terms of human health. Each year, it infects some 2.7 million additional people and leads to some two million deaths from AIDS. But a new album manages to locate some sonic beauty deep in its genome. Sounds of HIV (Azica Records) by composer Alexandra [...]

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PsySociety

Lady Gaga, You Shouldn’t Be Doing It For The Applause.

Lady Gaga

When Lady Gaga tells us in her latest hit single that everything she does is “for the applause,” is that a message that we should be celebrating? Or is it something to worry about? And, while we’re talking Gaga, what about her well-known proclamation that people are who they are because they were Born That [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Do Music Lessons Make You Smarter?

Practice makes progress, if not perfection, for most things in life. Generally, practicing a skill—be it basketball, chess or the tuba—mostly makes you better at whatever it was you practiced. Even related areas do not benefit much. Doing intensive basketball drills does not usually make a person particularly good at football. Chess experts are not [...]

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Symbiartic

Music Steeped in the Wilds of Canada

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Eighteen years ago this July, a group of 14 adventurers unloaded tents, gear, food, canoes, and two guitars from the back of a big old bus and loaded them into 7 canoes in a nondescript boat launch outside of Yellowknife, NWT. For the next 47 days, they would paddle against the current, slog through bogs, [...]

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