Music and sound

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Music and sound

Take a listen to this brief audio clip of “Unforgettable.” Aside from the fact that it’s a computer-generated MIDI performance, do you hear anything unusual? If you’re a non-musician like me, you might not have noticed anything. It sounds basically like the familiar song, even though the synthesized sax isn’t nearly as pleasing as the…

We’ve talked a lot on Cognitive Daily about change blindness: the inability to spot visual differences between images and even real people and objects right before our eyes. The most dramatic demonstration might be Daniel Simons’ “experiment” that took place before participants even knew they were being studied: More recently researchers have uncovered a similar…

Last year Nora and I went on a hike in the remote Pasayten Wilderness in northern Washington state. Parts of the hike were extremely grueling, while other parts were quite easy and fun. I made this short video to try to capture the differences: The music was added as an afterthought, but in the end…

When school budgets are cut, programs in music and the arts are often the first to get axed. While this makes a certain amount of sense because music isn’t always considered “essential” to education, recently in the U.S. we’re starting to see another justification for cutting music out of schools. The No Child Left Behind…

There’s lots of research suggesting that we may have something like a “number line” in our head: The SNARC effect says that if you normally read numbers from left to right, you’re faster to react to small numbers with your left hand, and big numbers with your right hand. Similar research has also found a…

Last night in the U.S. many televisions were tuned to one of the biggest spectacles of the year: the American Idol finale, where America would learn which singer had been chosen as “America’s favorite” (or, more cynically, who inspired the most teenagers to repeatedly dial toll-free numbers until all hours of the night). Greta and…

If, like me, you grew up in the U.S. in the 1970s and 80s, you probably remember the game show Name That Tune, where contestants heard brief snippets from popular songs and had to name them as quickly as possible. Even though I didn’t know most of the music, which was primarily American Standards from…

The Mafa people, who live in the far north of Cameroon in the Mandara mountains, are one of the most culturally isolated groups in the world. Since many of their settlements lack electricity, there are some individuals who have never been exposed to western movies, art, or music. But the Mafa do have their own…

As a young child, my family was poor and we had to go to a public clinic for dental work. Since we were being seen by dental students, often the process was painful and took much longer than it should have. It was a tremendous relief when my uncle opened a swanky dental practice with…

It’s now taken as a given that the musical score of a movie can have huge influence on our perception of the movie. From the pulsating terror achieved in films like Psycho and Jaws, to the triumphant victories in Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s hard to think about a great film without…