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Music-Brain Research going on in Boston

July 28th, 2007 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I love to go to Boston because I have family there and they are part of the music world there as well as the medical world. On a recent trip to Boston, I heard about a fascinating stuady and was going on with the conductor of the Boston pops and his audience:

“Mozart and Dr. Seuss provided the inspiration Saturday as researchers measured the emotional responses of a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance. Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, five members of the orchestra, and 50 audience members were the guinea pigs — wired with sensors as researchers stationed at two banks of computers backstage collected data about heart rates, muscle movement, and other physiological responses.
“Science has come an awful long way in the last 250 years,” Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart told a Symphony Hall audience of about 2,000 parents and young children during a family concert.
The concert consisted of four Mozart pieces, including the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro— celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth — followed by two Seuss interpretations, including Green Eggs and Ham.
Among researchers’ questions: Do orchestra and audience members have strong physiological responses, as they suspect, to the conductor’s thrusts and dramatic head tosses? Is there much difference between responses at a live show compared to watching on television, as a control group will do later?
“We want a window into the brain,” said research director Daniel J. Levitin, a cognitive neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal. “We want to understand more about how the brain works.”


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