Probably each of us at least once in a lifetimewatched the program “Guess the melody”, where the participants of the game recognize known songs from the first few notes. It may seem very easy, but in fact, the ability of the human brain to recall melodies so quickly is an amazing phenomenon. Inspired by this, researchers from the University of London decided to find out exactly how many seconds recognition occurs. To do this, they, like most groups of scientists, conducted an experiment involving several dozen people.
Judging by published on the university websiteAccording to data, 5 men, 5 women and a group of foreign students participated in it. The scientists paid particular attention to the first 10 people - they were asked to write a list of five songs that they knew well. Of these works, one track was selected, to which tunes with a similar rhythm, melody, manner of performance and other features were selected. The participants were not familiar with these tracks.
How quickly does a person recognize a familiar song?
After all this, the participants in the experimentlistened to about a hundred short fragments of both familiar and unfamiliar melodies. The same excerpts of songs were listened to by foreign students who were not at all familiar with the compositions used. During listening, all participants in the experiment recorded electrical activity in the brain and monitored changes in the diameter of the pupils.
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When the participants in the experiment heard a friendthe melody, their pupils expanded significantly - the researchers believe that this is due to a sharp emotional arousal. Scientists also noticed that when playing familiar songs, people observed activity in areas of the brain that are associated with "extracting information from memory." Students who were not familiar with any of the selected compositions had no changes in brain activity and pupils.
According to the researchers, to recognizea familiar melody, a person sometimes only needs just some 100 milliseconds, or 0.1 seconds. According to Professor Maria Chait, who led the study, this is an amazing result of the speed of response of the human brain. She believes that the scientific work carried out shows how deeply the favorite songs of people are rooted in memory.
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Perhaps this discovery will allowimprove some therapeutic procedures. For example, to improve the emotional state of people with dementia who suffer from poor memory, some doctors use music. The fact is that in the later stages of this disease, patients often lose their ability to talk, but retain the ability to sing along and play along to sounding melodies.
The most life-threatening music
It is noteworthy that this is far from the firststudy on music. In September 2019, Chinese scientists studied the behavior of motorists and published a list of songs that make them drive more aggressively than usual. It is believed that listening to this music while driving can cause a fatal accident, so it is better to completely remove the detected tracks from the radio’s playlist.