Lab Scans And Analyzes Sting’s Brain As Part Of Study Of Mental Music Organization

first_imgFollowing a recent show in Montreal, Sting met with Daniel Levitin, a cognitive psychologist at McGill University to have fMRI images of his brain taken as part of an ongoing study of how the brain of a skilled musician analyzes and organizes music. In a paper outlining the study published on McGill’s website, Levitin explains that he and his partners have developed imaging-analysis techniques to provide insight into how gifted individuals find connections between seemingly disparate thoughts or sounds, in fields ranging from arts, to politics, to science. “These state-of-the-art techniques really allowed us to make maps of how Sting’s brain organizes music. That’s important because at the heart of great musicianship is the ability to manipulate in one’s mind rich representations of the desired soundscape.”The research came about as a result of a mutual admiration between Sting and the McGill psychologist. Years ago, Sting read Levitin’s book This Is Your Brain On Music, and asked to meet Levitin and take a tour of his facilities, as many musicians have done over the years. While there, Levitin asked if Sting would be interested in having his brain scanned, and the musician obliged.Both functional and structural scans were conducted in a single session at the brain imaging unit of McGill’s Montreal Neurological Institute on the hot afternoon of his July 5th concert with Peter Gabriel at the Bell Centre (part of their current Rock Paper Scissors Tour). A power outage knocked the entire campus off-line for several hours, threatening to cancel the experiment. Because it takes over an hour to reboot the fMRI machine, time grew short. Sting graciously agreed to skip his soundcheck in order to accurately complete the scan.Levitin then teamed up with Scott Grafton, a leading brain-scan expert at the University of California at Santa Barbara, to use two novel techniques to analyze the scans. The techniques showed which songs Sting found similar to one another and which ones he found dissimilar based not on tests or questionnaires, but on activations of brain regions. Says Grafton, “At the heart of these methods is the ability to test if patterns of brain activity are more alike for two similar styles of music compared to different styles. This approach has never before been considered in brain imaging experiments of music.”According to Levitin, “Sting’s brain scan pointed us to several connections between pieces of music that I know well but had never seen as related before.” The most surprising neural connection was the similarity in brain activity between Piazzolla’s “Libertango”, a tango composition, and the Beatles‘ “Girl” off 1965’s Rubber Soul. While the songs differ greatly in sound and genre, both pieces are in minor keys and include similar melodic motifs. Another example of similar neurological responses to seemingly different songs was Sting’s own “Moon Over Bourbon Street” and Booker T. and the MG‘s “Green Onions”, both of which have the same 132 bpm tempo and a swinging rhythm. While more information is needed to draw any scientific conclusions, these tests provide insight into the connecting factors between different kinds of music in terms of how they are received and processed by the mind of a musician.[via McGill University]last_img read more

Liverpool line-up v Bolton: Star striker to make first start after five months out?

first_img1 GoalkeeperSimon Mignolet followed up his impressive display at Chelsea with a clean sheet against West Ham and will continue in goal.DefenceWith a big game at Everton on Saturday, Rodgers could opt to rest Emre Can and that could see Dejan Lovren restored to the starting XI.The Croatian has struggled to find the form that convinced Liverpool to part with £20m for the defender but he will be keen to prove his worth.MidfieldLiverpool have looked fluid in their new 3-4-3 system, and that could see Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic preserved ahead of the derby, which would give Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique some much needed game time.Steven Gerrard will be keen to see Liverpool progress as he aims to lift the FA Cup on his 35th birthday, but with his final Merseyside derby to come, Rodgers may opt to start the Englishman from the bench.AttackRodgers said Sturridge’s reaction to playing on the weekend was positive but he will continue to manage his return.That will likely see the former Chelsea man start from the bench which gives an opportunity for either Fabio Borini, Rickie Lambert or Mario Balotelli to lead the line.Liverpool fans, how do you think you’ll line-up against Bolton? Comment below… Brendan Rodgers takes his Liverpool side to Bolton this evening in a bid to avoid a major FA Cup upset in their fourth round replay.The Northern Irishman has overseen a change in fortunes for the Reds after a disappointing start to the season, and Liverpool has lost just twice in 17 games in all competitions.Daniel Sturridge marked his return to first-team action on the weekend after five months out with a goal, while captain Steven Gerrard is fully fit after being rested on the weekend.With a Merseyside derby to come on the weekend, will Rodgers rest some of his stars and will Sturridge be in the starting XI?Possible Liverpool line-up against Bolton: 1 Brendan Rodgers takes his Liverpool side to Bolton this evening in a bid to avoid a major FA Cup upset in their fourth round replay. last_img read more