Friday, December 30, 2022

Neuroscience, Sound and Reading Your Mind

Earlier this month on the CNN I listened to Sanjay Gupta's interview with Nina Kraus in his "Chasing Life" podcast segment "The Power of Sound".  As a consequence, I ordered her book "Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaninful Sonic World".  It's arrived.  Now I just have to find the time to read it.

Sound, whether music, speech, a thunderclap or gunfire, takes place, not in the ears, but in the brain.  Yet, neouroscience has produced relatively little research on the subject, especially compared to the study of brainwaves related to light and vision.  Professor Kraus points out that hearing, not sight, is our early-warning system.  In addition, our relationship with sound is interactive since we produce it and solicit it as well as interpret it, whereas sight is mainly a one-way street.  Moreover, our "sound" mind interacts with all the other facets of our brain.

During the interview, Prof. Kraus played recordings of the brainwaves from several subjects who all listened to one, particular, popular song.  Although each recording was slightly different, you could recognize that, same melody in all of them.

I didn't find it surprising that the subjects' brainwaves were similar -- but wait a minute -- I, myself, could recognize the song!  That comes pretty close to being able to read someone's mind, doesn't it?  Granted, this was just rhythm and pitch, not speech, and the brainwaves were created via active listening, not re-creating the song from memory.  But still....!

I can't wait to see the results from additional studies that come out of her lab.

Monday, December 26, 2022

A "Snoozeday"

 In the US when a government holiday falls on a weekend, offices are closed the following Monday, instead. So most people don't work but there are no holiday celebrations to see to, either. It's what I call a Snoozeday.

Today is such a day. I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Rudolph says, "Support Diversity"

 I have a new favorite Holiday Season Color Vowel lesson.  In a short introduction plus 4 short verses, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" uses every vowel in the CV chart except for ORANGE DOOR and PURPLE SHIRT.  So add the slogan "Support Diversity" to the lesson and the vowels are all covered!

Even as a kid I always thought the other reindeer were fair-weather friends, wanting Rudolph as a companion only after he became famous.

While looking online for the lyrics, I ran into the story of Robert May, the author who originally wrote the tale, and his brother-in-law Johnny Marks who wrote the lyrics.  Here's a link to the The Real Story Behind Rudolph. It is rather interesting, in itself.

One of my students pointed out that "your" as commonly spoken "yer", could be classified as PURPLE SHIRT rather than BLUE MOON.

Below is the CV list:

a CUP of MUSTARD -- loved, one, other
BLACK CAT -- as, Dancer, Dasher, had, laugh, Prancer, Santa
BLUE MOON -- Cupid, Rudolph, used, you, You'll, your
BROWN COW -- down, how, out,  shouted
GRAY DAY -- came, famous, games, names, reindeer, say, sleigh, they
GREEN TEA -- Eve, even, glee
OLIVE SOCK -- Comet, Donner
AUBURN DOG -- all, call, foggy, recall, saw
RED PEPPER -- ever, let, never, Red-Nosed, then, very
ROSE BOAT -- glows, go, know, most, nose, so, won't
SILVER PIN -- Blitzen, Christmas, him, history, Vixen
WHITE TIE -- bright, guide, my, shiny, tonight
WOODEN HOOK -- poor, would
SCHWA/a CUP OF MUSTARD -- a, but, the
SCHWA/SILVER PIN -- if, in, it, with