Adding music to pictures flips brain from ‘cognitive’ to ‘feeling’ mode

Title of paper under discussion The emotional power of music: How music enhances the feeling of affective pictures Authors Thomas Baumgartner, Kai Lutz, Conny F. Schmidt, Lutz Jäncke Journal BRAIN RESEARCH, 1075 (2006), pp 151–164 Link to paper (free access) Overview Although movie soundtracks are universally acknowledged as ‘emotion enhancers’ in the cinematic experience, it …

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Imagining the “Dallas” theme tune is a right-brained affair

Title of paper under discussion When That Tune Runs Through Your Head: A PET Investigation of Auditory Imagery for Familiar Melodies Authors Andrea R. Halpern and Robert J. Zatorre Journal Cerebral Cortex, Vol. 9, No. 7, pp. 697-704 (Oct 1999) Link to paper (free access) Quick summary Here are four of this paper’s most important …

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Music competitions are judged on sight more than sound

Title of paper under discussion Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance Author Chia-Jung Tsay Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 110, no 36, pp 14580-14585 Link to paper (free access) Overview A series of 6-second clips of international music competition contestants in action – some audio-only, some video-only and …

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Musicians have better verbal memory

Title of paper under discussion Music training improves verbal memory Authors Agnes S. Chan, Yim-Chi Ho & Mei-Chun Cheung Journal Nature 396, 128 (1998) Link to paper (free access) Overview Magnetic resonance scanning reveals that the left planum temporale, situated in the left temporal lobe of the brain, is larger in musicians than in non-musicians. Perhaps, reasoned Agnes Chan and …

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Brain activity in musical improvisers revealed

Title of paper under discussion Cortical Regions Involved in the Generation of Musical Structures during Improvisation in Pianists Authors Sara L. Bengtsson, Mihály CsÍkszentmihályi and Fredrik Ullén Journal Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol 19, no 5, pp. 830–842 Link to paper (free access) Overview Scan the brain of someone in the act of selecting freely, …

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Musicians are slower – but better – at discriminating timbres, instrumental and vocal

Title of paper under discussion Superior voice timbre processing in musicians Authors Jean-Pierre Chartrand and Pascal Belin Journal Neuroscience Letters 405 (2006) 164–167 Link to paper (free access) Overview This study set out to compare musicians and non-musicians in their abilities to tell different timbres apart. In the first set of tasks, ‘instrumental timbre discrimination’, …

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Poor speech can be related to poor manual timing

Title of paper under discussion Pitch and Timing Abilities in Inherited Speech and Language Impairment Authors Katherine J. Alcock, Richard E. Passingham, Kate Watkins, and Faraneh Vargha-Khadem Journal Brain and Language 75, 34–46 (2000) Link to paper (free access) Overview Some members of a large extended family – the ‘KE family’ – suffer from an …

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Women are better at processing melodies heard in their left ears

Title of paper under discussion Laterality effects in the processing of melody and timbre Authors RUSS BOUCHER and M. P. BRYDEN Journal Neuropsychologia, Vol. 35, No. 11, pp. 1467-1473. 1997 Link to paper (free access) Overview Listening with headphones to a series of musical excerpts – each of which was in fact two different melodies …

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Dissonant chords and unpleasant pictures tickle the same brain area

Title of paper under discussion Emotional responses to pleasant and unpleasant music correlate with activity in paralimbic brain regions Authors Anne J. Blood, Robert J. Zatorre, Patrick Bermudez and Alan C. Evans Journal Nature Neuroscience, volume 2 no 4, April 1999, pp382-387 Link to paper (free access) Overview Anne Blood and her colleagues at McGill …

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Music at bedtime helps students sleep

Title of paper under discussion Music improves sleep quality in students Authors László Harmat, Johanna Takács & Róbert Bódizs Journal Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol 62, issue 3, pp 327-335 (May 2008) Link to paper (free access) Overview Nearly 100 Hungarian students with sleeping complaints were divided into three groups. Two of the groups were …

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