Researchers in the science of music recognize the limitations of controlled experiments within lab settings. One of the most important ones is that studies conducted in the lab are sometimes very far removed from real life and their results might not be generalizable to everyday situations. The rapid development and expanding accessibility of new sensor technology offer intriguing possibilities for out-of-the-lab experimentation in the science of music.
Sync Project CEO Marko Ahtisaari gave a keynote speech about design, science and music, and also shed some light on "the big picture" here at Sync at the Interaction 16 Conference in Helsinki. He pointed out that while there is an intuition that music moves us and improves our health in addition strong directional evidence in science, no one has built a platform to measure the biometric effects of music listening at scale.
Many researchers believe that music and language are deeply connected in the brain. However, whether music and language processing rely on exactly the same neural resources is an important and fascinating area of inquiry in the neuroscience of music.
In the United States alone, tinnitus is estimated to affect the lives of 50 million people. People suffering from subjective tinnitus hear sounds (typically ringing or hissing) that no one else hears.There is no cure for tinnitus, but luckily a lot can be done to manage the symptoms. One enjoyable way to treat the symptoms of tinnitus is, perhaps ironically, music listening.
Sometimes it feels like music sticks to our memories particularly well, or our memories stick to the music. Why is music such a powerful trigger for memory? Are the memories of our life events involving music somehow different from other memories of the past?
There is already ample evidence that music is an effective and enjoyable way to manage sleep disturbances such as insomnia. In recent years, there have been intriguing findings on the effects of mere sounds presented during sleep on the quality of sleep, as well as the function of sleep in memory and learning.
Conventional wisdom says that in order to become very good at a demanding task such as playing a musical instrument, you have to start young. Indeed, several neuroimaging studies have reported that training-related changes in brain structure are most pronounced in musicians who have started early. However, is it the age at which you start learning this skill that matters, or only the fact that if you start practicing young, you spend more years practicing? Is there an optimum age when a child should start practicing an instrument to attain the biggest benefits?
Although music is present in all of our lives in many ways, very few of us become professional musicians, and even fewer become professional composers. What do we know about musical creativity? How is new music born in the human brain? A recent study bravely tackled these fundamental unanswered questions in the field of the neuroscience of music.
Common treatments for Parkinsons' Disorder include pharmacological treatments. However, these treatments often lose efficacy over time. Emerging efforts to use technology such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) have shown promise. Recent studies using DBS provide in-depth information about unique neural responses to music with this population, and how different kinds of music may be used to achieve specific clinical outcomes
Evidence has accumulated during the last couple of decades that musical training shapes the brain in many ways. For instance, since playing a musical instrument requires accurate sound processing and control of movement, musicians’ brains appear to devote more resources to sound processing and motor functions and the integration of the two. Playing music from notes also requires a close interplay between visual and auditory processing. Therefore, might musical training also enhance the brain’s ability for audiovisual integration, the combining of sound and sight?
Recent studies suggest that the feelings we get from music have the same power in enhancing learning and focus as other emotional responses. Do differences in personality affect receptivity to music-evoked emotions?
Music seems to carry emotional information within its structure: according to research, acoustic features of music universally evoke the same emotions, for example, upward moving melodies and increasing pitch are typically related to happiness instead of sadness. Recently, a study found that in addition to music, environmental sounds also carry emotional information that can be perceived by humans, and that influences perception. Astonishingly, the same sound features that evoke emotions in music also stir up emotions if they are present in everyday, environmental sounds such as the sound of the wind and the calls of animals.