Nov 30

The Beatles: Rock Stars, Pop Icons, Science Contributors

If you have a favorite music album (perhaps one by The Beatles, for example) you probably know the order of the songs on the record backwards and forwards. It turns out, the brain system that controls our muscles also helps us recall our favorite music, according to a recent article on NPR.com– and we have the Fab Four to thank for the discovery.

Neuroscientist and Beatles fanatic Josef Rauschecker of Georgetown University made the discovery during an experiment on how the brain stores memory. Chalk it up to John, Paul, George and Ringo, whose music inspired Rauschecker to conduct research on how the brain’s motor system plays a critical role in helping us remember songs, with the auditory system playing the role as a conduit. Just consider that process next time you recall from which album the following song came from:

MIT professor Tod Machover talks about a similar brain-oriented project in the following clip from The Aspen Institute. In his Brain Opera project, students with no musical training were tasked with creating a musical score. They succeeded, and two students who participated in the project went on to invent the smash-hit video game Guitar Hero.

Tod Machover’s Brain Opera and the Origins of Guitar Hero from The Aspen Institute on FORA.tv

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