From The Sound of Duh! Department

The headline says so much about the biased method of research: “Researchers find where musical memories are stored in the brain”
As if the brain’s memory were a computer’s memory?

Therein lies a major problem of comparison with known functions.

When the word ‘memory’ is used the first thing to come to ‘mind’ is the memory that is ‘stored’ in a computer, on a disk or in a chip. The brain does not store ANYTHING. If it did store things you would NEVER FORGET.

“A group of Dartmouth researchers has learned that the brain’s auditory cortex, the part that handles information from your ears, holds on to musical memories.” [1] No they have not. They learned that the ears are connected to the system and the brain holds on to nothing. Everything natural: entropies.

It is almost as if researchers know so much about computer memory that the brain just had to ‘hold on’ to things the same way. Then why are they so excited about realizing that the part of the cortex that processes sound has something to do with sound?

“In a study titled “Sound of silence activates auditory cortex” published in the March 10 issue of Nature, the Dartmouth team found that if people are listening to music that is familiar, they mentally call upon auditory imagery, or memories, to fill in the gaps if the music cuts out. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity, the researchers found that study participants could mentally fill in the blanks if a familiar song was missing short snippets.” [1]

Understanding that short-term memory is a loop, fed by long-term memory and its comparison to input, one might comprehend that without the input, after a sequence already in memory has started, the sequence in memory is going to keep coming, even if the input stops.

“‘We played music in the scanner [fMRI], and then we hit a virtual ‘mute’ button,’ says first author David Kraemer, a graduate student in Dartmouth’s Psychological and Brain Sciences Department. ‘We found that people couldn’t help continuing the song in their heads, and when they did this, the auditory cortex remained active even though the music had stopped.'” [1]


“‘It’s fascinating that although the ear isn’t actually hearing the song, the brain is perceptually hearing it,’ says coauthor William Kelley, Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth.” [1]


“The researchers also found that lyrics impact the different auditory brain regions that are recruited when musical memories are reconstructed. If the music went quiet during an instrumental song, like during the theme from the Pink Panther, individuals activated many different parts of the auditory cortex, going farther back in the processing stream, to fill in the blanks. When remembering songs with words, however, people simply relied on the more advanced parts of the auditory processing stream.” [1]

“‘It makes us think that lyrics might be the focus of the memory,’ says Kraemer.” [1]

Well stop thinking that. The only thing that is the focus of any memory is the memory most focused from its input receptor.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled fMRI fiction novel.