“While music may soothe the savage breast, the brain thrills to the sound of silence.
“That’s a new finding by a team of Stanford and McGill University scientists who watched brain images of 18 volunteers listening to a series of movements within symphonies, each punctuated by frequent pauses.
“A one- to two-second break between movements triggers a flurry of mental activity, researchers found. When the music resumes, the action shifts to a different part of the brain, then subsides.
“‘The pause itself becomes the event,’ said neuroscientist Vinod Menon of Stanford’s School of Medicine, the senior author of a paper published in today’s issue of the journal Neuron. “A pause is not a time where nothing happens.”
“Skillful composers have long used silence to build a sense of anticipation. Some of music’s finest moments are spent in transition – waiting, in essence, for the other shoe to drop.
“Stanford’s snapshots of this pause may have implications beyond concert halls, nightclubs and honky-tonks.
“They shine a light into what neuroscientists call ‘segmentation processes’ – the techniques used by the brain to take a stream of sensory information and parcel it up into more easily comprehended pieces.”
When the music stops, the brain gets going, IN STANFORD STUDY, SILENT PAUSES LEND CLUES ON MENTAL PROCESSES, By Lisa M. Krieger, Mercury News, Article Launched: 08/02/2007 01:33:13 AM PDT (via KSJ tracker)
Ooooh! Brian video!