Tag Archives: Neuroscience

Science of sounds

In his latest book, Harnessed, cognitive scientist Mark Changizi, reveals how and why language, speech and music exist, and why they are apparently uniquely human attributes that separate us, as a species, from the rest of life on Earth. A fact that also gives us special responsibility for the Earth, you might say. According to Changizi, the "lower" parts of the brain, the bits that recognise the sounds of nature, the scuffs, cracks and bangs, were hijacked by the "upper" parts of our brain and give us speech as we evolved from our ape-like hominid ancestors.
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The research subject

I lay flat on my back on the table. Large foam pads were placed under my elbows and round my neck. I was given a pair of headphones and a restraining strap was fixed across my forehead. Then I was shunted backwards into a narrow, cream-coloured tube. The door was locked and the room was filled with an incessant humming noise as the machine started. Soon the humming was replaced by squealing and the whole machine began to vibrate.
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