Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Sem Replacement Activity – Week of March 16th

Presenter: Dr. John C.M. Brust, MD (Columbia University Medical Center)

Topic: Neurology of Music

NIH Clinical Center Grand Rounds

Wednesday March 14th at 12:00 pm

Link to Presentation Webcast:

Dr. Brust discussed the similarities and differences between how our brains read and write language and read and write music. He presented several case studies of individuals with preserved musicality in the presence of aphasia.

I found it interesting that naïve, untrained listeners appear to listen to music with almost entirely their right hemispheres while more sophisticated listeners tend to listen with their left cerebral hemisphere. Researchers in Columbia’s psychology department have concluded that this is because the right hemisphere is emotional and the left hemisphere is analytic – when you are more familiar with music you tend to analyze it more as you listen to it.


  1. We heard about a related topic from PhD candidate Shaun Stephens yesterday. He presented data on processing words vs sentences vs narratives (stories) and showed not so much a left-right difference as an intensity difference. Sentences seem to demand less blood flow when they are part of an interpretable narrative.

    BTW - You can participate in our seminars at home by phone or video if you are available at noon-115 on Fridays.



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