How does your brain process sound envelopes?
A team of scientists created sounds with different harmonic and amplitude footprints. The pumped these sound through a pair of Koss headphones while their subjects lay on the Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) machine. What they found may suprprise you.
They found noise and harmonic sounds activate different slightly different parts of the brain. There are various parts of the brain that process “music” and other parts process “sound.” Many composers would argue where those lines should be drawn. (If even at all) But the research subjects clearly showed that different parts of the brain are used for specific types of sounds.
But if sounds that switched between harmonic and noise sources activate the most sections of the brain. So, is this best path for interesting music? Should musicians find a way to balance harmonic and in-harmonic noises in order to trigger the largest synaptic response?
My question for the researchers (if they are self googlers) – how much variation was their between each subject? Does everybody use the same of part their brain to process these sounds?
Full Paper Link: Analysis of the spectral envelope of sounds by the human brain
Authors: J.D. Warren, A.R. Jennings and T.D. Griffiths