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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Music and the EEG

Did you know that you have electricity in your body and your brain? This is not a theory, it's a fact! One of the most important medical tests that exists to diagnose brain problems is the EEG.

Music and the EEG
There have not been many experiments that have looked to see how the brain processes music. Measurements of brain activity using the electroencephalogram (EEG) have shown that both the right and left hemispheres are responsive to music.

Other researchers have recorded neuronal activity from the temporal lobe of patients undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy. During this study, awake patients heard either a song by Mozart, a folk song or the theme from "Miami Vice". These different kinds of music had different effects on the neurons in the temporal lobe. The Mozart song and folk song reduced the activity in 48% of the neurons while the theme from Miami Vice reduced the activity in only 26% of the neurons. Also the Miami Vice music increased the activity in 74% of the neurons while Mozart and folk music increase the activity in only about 20% of the neurons. Some of the neurons had action potentials that kept time with the rhythm of the music. Although these results do show that the temporal lobe is probably involved with some aspect of music, it is unclear exactly how this area of the brain is used in the appreciation of music.
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