To amuse the muse of the brain by heart
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Music sets cognitive judgments in motion of how we experience melodies by heart. Since ancient history we are aware that music is capable of arousing all kinds of emotional experiences, expressed through, for instance, the shedding of tears, relaxation, facing a spectrum of beautiful colours, recall memories etc. In contrast, music may also irritate us or, like the mysterious sounds of Pan in mythology, even provoke panic. Recently, in Oliver Sachs’s latest book Musicophilia, the story is told of a person who was stuck by lightning and hereafter became obsessed with learning to play the piano. In concert with this observation, neurological afflictions also have an impact on how we undergo music. Through studying the underlying changes in the brain of patients, Sachs tried to elucidate some aspects of the effect of music on our emotions. He concludes that, like our capability to speak, music is able to identify us as unique human beings. Hence, basic mechanistic questions are: what is...
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