Universality in the Brain while listening to Music
Joydeep Bhattacharya and Hellmuth Petsche
Biological Sciences, Vol. 268, No. 1484 (Dec. 7,2001) pp. 2423-2433
By: Michelle Minke
An electroencephalogram (EEG) measures neuroelectrical activity when there are changes in the physiological and chemical interactions in the brain. The EEG detects dynamical patterns that are either linear or nonlinear in the brain. By adjusting the gamma band of the EEG over specific areas of the brain, it measures the signals of brain activity during different cognitive states. The different cognitive states analyzed were: the brain at rest, listening to music, listening to text, and performing spatial imagination. Listening to music was found to be the only cognitive state that created universal and homogeneity in the brain by exhibiting only linear interaction among many cortical regions.
Books such as “New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle address the fact that there is always an inner dialogue and some type of mental noise in our consciousness. I think it is amazing that our brain is busy even while resting and that music has the ability to place our brain in a more linear and calmed state.
In this study, spatial imagination had the least linear patterns. This made me think of the importance of other activities that encourage a unified cognitive state, such as Yoga. In these practices of meditation, you are encouraged to use spatial imagination. Thousands of people are finding benefits to these sessions beyond physical awareness, flexibility and overall health. Music is often present in Yoga, and perhaps the influence of music is what creates a greater feeling of well being besides the usual benefits.
I am amazed in the power of music and the effect it has on our brain. It is easy to sense the effect music has on us emotionally, but this article opened my eyes to what it does physically.