Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Music and Memory

Well, there’s one way to find more time -- get up earlier. Odd thing about that, nobody demands much of your time before sunrise.

Speaking of which, I was listing to Talk of the Nation -- Science Friday yesterday before the sun came up. (Yes, I’m behind on podcasts too. Thanks for noticing.) The host -- Ira Flatow -- touched on a subject that is a constant source of fascination to me: Music and Memory.

Treating Stress, Speech Disorders With Music

The part that really struck me was the patients that couldn’t talk but could sing. They used Gabby Giffords as a current example of someone being treated with music. She was having difficulty talking -- just accessing words in her injured brain -- but she could sing her favorite songs.

My fascination with the subject is mentioned too: long-term memory. I can’t remember things I read yesterday, poems I was forced to memorize as a child or (for example) the frequency of the GVE sector. But I can remember the words to a song I haven’t heard in 30 years.

There might be something useful in that for people that have to memorize thousands of details in order to do their jobs. Just sayin’.

Don Brown
December 20, 2011

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