Transcript: The Power of Music | Jul 29, 2016

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her thirties, with shoulder-length curly brown hair. She's wearing blue rimmed glasses, black trousers, a black top and a red blazer.

A caption reads "The power of music."

The caption changes to "Nam Kiwanuka. Twitter: @namshine."

Nam says WHY DO WE MAKE AND LISTEN TO
MUSIC?
IS IT SIMPLY ENTERTAINMENT, OR
DOES IT ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING
FOR THE BRAIN?
RESEARCHERS AT MCMASTER
UNIVERSITY ARE LOOKING INTO
THESE QUESTIONS.
AS DIRECTOR OF THE MCMASTER
INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC AND THE MIND
AND DIRECTOR OF THE LIVELAB,
LAUREL TRAINOR IS AT THE CENTRE
OF THIS RESEARCH.
SHE IS ALSO A PROFESSOR IN THE
DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY,
NEUROSCIENCE, AND BEHAVIOUR AT
MCMASTER.
WELCOME.
YOU'RE REALLY, REALLY BUSY.

Laurel is in her forties, with mid-length straight light brown hair with bangs. He wears glasses, jeans, a black top, a pale blue blazer and a silver necklace.

She says I ENJOY IT A LOT.

Nam says I'M SO GLAD THAT YOU'RE HERE.
SO, WHY STUDY THE NEUROSCIENCE
BEHIND MUSIC?

The caption changes to "Laurel Trainor. McMaster University."

Laurel says WELL, MUSIC IS VERY INTERESTING.
IT'S SO UBIQUITOUS; IT'S
EVERYWHERE THAT WE SORT OF TAKE
IT FOR GRANTED.
BUT MUSIC IS ANCIENT.
THERE ARE BONE FLUTES FROM OVER
30,000 YEARS AGO.
AND PROBABLY PEOPLE WERE
PRODUCING MUSIC LONG BEFORE
THAT.
EVEN TODAY, PEOPLE SPEND A LOT
OF TIME AND ENERGY ON MUSIC.
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS, YOU KNOW,
15 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR INDUSTRY.

Nam says 15 BILLION DOLLARS?

Laurel says YEAH.
IT'S BEEN ESTIMATED PEOPLE SPEND
ABOUT 13 YEARS OF THEIR LIFE
LISTENING TO MUSIC.
SO, THERE'S A BIG QUESTION:
WHY DO WE DO THIS?
WHAT--WHY DID WE DEVELOP MUSIC
IN THE FIRST PLACE AND WHAT DOES
IT DO FOR US?

Nam says AND WHY DID WE DEVELOP IT?

Laurel says WELL, THERE ARE PROBABLY A
NUMBER OF ANSWERS TO THAT
QUESTION.

Nam says MM HMM.

The caption changes to "The power of music. Songs and the brain."

Laurel says BUT CERTAINLY IF YOU LOOK AT
WHERE DO WE HAVE MUSIC, UNDER
WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES DO WE MAKE
MUSIC, IT'S ALMOST ALWAYS
SOCIAL.
SO, WE HAVE MUSIC AT WEDDINGS;
WE HAVE MUSIC AT PARTIES; WE
HAVE MUSIC AT RELIGIOUS
CEREMONIES.
THE MILITARY USES MUSIC.
BASICALLY, WE SEEM TO USE MUSIC
WHENEVER WE WANT TO BRING PEOPLE
TOGETHER TO FEEL AFFILIATED WITH
A SOCIAL GROUP.
WE USE MUSIC WHEN WE WANT TO
FEEL A COMMON EMOTION.

Nam says SO, WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE
BRAIN WHEN WE HEAR MUSIC?

Laurel says WELL, WHEN YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC,
FIRST OF ALL YOUR AUDITORY
SYSTEM HAS TO PROCESS THE SOUND.

Nam says HMM.

Laurel says AND THAT CAN BE VERY
COMPLICATED.
AND THEN FURTHER TO THAT, PARTS
OF THE MUSIC, ASPECTS OF THE
MUSIC AFFECT YOUR LIMBIC SYSTEM
WHICH HAS TO DO WITH EMOTIONAL
RESPONSES.
WHEN YOU SIMPLY LISTEN TO A
MUSICAL RHYTHM...

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says IT NOT ONLY ACTIVATES YOUR
AUDITORY CORTEX, BUT IT
ACTIVATES YOUR MOTOR AREAS THAT
HAVE TO DO WITH MOVEMENT.
SO, YOU'VE PROBABLY EXPERIENCED
WHEN YOU LISTEN TO A PIECE OF
MUSIC IT MAKES YOU WANNA MOVE.
EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT MOVING...

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says YOUR MOTOR SYSTEM THAT
CONTROLS YOUR MOVEMENT IS BEING
PRIMED AS IF YOU WERE GONNA
MOVE.
SO, IT ENCOMPASSES THAT PART OF
THE BRAIN.
AND THEN THE FRONTAL--PREFRONTAL
AREAS OF THE BRAIN THAT HAVE TO
DEAL WITH ATTENTION AND
MOTIVATION AND MONITORING AND
INTERPRETATION AND MEMORY.
AND THINKING ABOUT WHAT THE
MUSIC MEANS AND HOW IT'S
AFFECTING YOU.
SO, MUSIC SEEMS TO REALLY
ACTIVATE THE WHOLE BRAIN.

Nam says SO, IF YOU HEAR A SONG THAT, YOU
KNOW, WAS SOMETHING THAT YOU
HEARD WHEN YOU WENT THROUGH A
DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR LIFE,
IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT YOU
MIGHT START TO CRY?

Laurel says YES, I MEAN, YOU CAN CERTAINLY
CRY TO A NON-FAMILIAR SONG
TOO...

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says WHICH WE CAN TALK ABOUT SOME
OF THE WAYS THAT THAT CAN
HAPPEN.
BUT ALSO MUSIC HAS STRONG TIES
TO WHAT WE CALL AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
MEMORY.
SO, YOUR MEMORIES ABOUT THINGS
THAT HAPPENED TO YOU.
SO, IF THERE WAS A SONG THAT WAS
PARTICULARLY PROMINENT AT A
CERTAIN PERIOD IN YOUR LIFE AND
YOU HEAR THAT SONG, IT WILL
ACTIVATE THOSE MEMORIES.

Nam says IT TAKES YOU BACK.

Laurel says IT TAKES YOU
BACK.

Nam says SO, MUCH OF YOUR RESEARCH TAKES
PLACE AT THE LIVELAB AT MCMASTER
UNIVERSITY.
WHAT DOES THIS FACILITY DO?

Laurel says WELL, THE LIVELAB IS UNIQUE IN
THE WORLD.
IT'S ACTUALLY A CONCERT HALL,
FULLY FUNCTIONING CONCERT HALL.
SMALL.

Nam says MM HMM.
100-SEAT VENUE.
BUT IT'S EQUIPPED WITH A BUNCH
OF TECHNOLOGY THAT ALLOWS US TO
DELVE INTO GREAT DEPTH ABOUT HOW
MUSICIANS PRODUCE MUSIC, HOW
THEY PLAY TOGETHER, HOW
AUDIENCES REACT, HOW AUDIENCES
INFLUENCES WHAT HAPPENS TO THE
PERFORMERS.
SO FIRST OF ALL, IT HAS AMAZING
ACOUSTICS.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says WE WENT TO GREAT LENGTHS TO
BUILD IT TO BE SOUND ISOLATED
FROM THE OUTSIDE, SO IT'S VERY,
VERY QUIET.
IT'S SOUND TREATED, SO IT'S VERY
LOW REVERBERATION.
SO, IT'S KIND OF THE OPPOSITE OF
A CATHEDRAL.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says IT'S LIKE A BLANK--AN AUDITORY
BLANK SLATE.
AND THEN WITHIN THAT, WE HAVE AN
AMAZING SOUND SYSTEM,
MICROPHONES THROUGHOUT THE SPACE
THAT PICK UP WHATEVER MUSIC OR
OTHER SOUNDS ARE GOING ON.
IN REAL TIME, WE CAN PROCESS
ECHOES AND FEED THAT BACK
THROUGH THE 75 LOUD SPEAKERS
THAT ARE DISTRIBUTED THROUGH THE
SPACE.
SO, WE CAN CALCULATE THE ECHOES,
FOR EXAMPLE, TO MAKE IT SOUND
LIKE A CATHEDRAL.

Nam says WOW.

Laurel says WE CAN CALCULATE THE ECHOES TO
MAKE IT SOUND LIKE CARNEGIE
HALL.
WE CAN MAKE IT SOUND LIKE A
SUBWAY STATION; WE CAN MAKE IT
SOUND LIKE YOU'RE OUTSIDE.
SO, WE HAVE INCREDIBLE CONTROL
OF THE ACOUSTIC ENVIRONMENT, AND
WE CAN MEASURE THE EFFECT THAT
THAT HAS ON PEOPLE.
SO, EVERYTHING FROM HOW DOES IT
AFFECT HOW MUSICIANS PLAY?
HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE
EXPERIENCES OF THE AUDIENCE?
IT'S BEING USED FOR PEDAGOGY.
SO HOW DO YOU LEARN IN A NOISY
ENVIRONMENT COMPARED TO A QUIET
ENVIRONMENT?
SO, THAT'S ONE OF THE
TECHNOLOGIES WE HAVE IN THERE.
WE ALSO CAN MEASURE EEG WHICH IS
BRAIN WAVES.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND WE CAN MEASURE THEM IN
MUSICIANS AND IN UP TO 30
AUDIENCE MEMBERS AT THE SAME
TIME.

Nam says REALLY?

Laurel says SO, WE CAN FIGURE OUT HOW THE
BRAIN IS ENCODING DIFFERENT
THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON.
WE CAN LOOK AT HOW--WE KNOW A
LOT ABOUT HOW INDIVIDUAL BRAINS
PROCESS MUSIC BUT ALMOST NOTHING
ABOUT HOW PEOPLE PLAY MUSIC
TOGETHER.
SO, IF YOU THINK ABOUT--IF YOU
HAVE TO PLAY MUSIC WITH
SOMEBODY, NOT ONLY DO YOU HAVE
TO ANTICIPATE WHAT NOTES YOU
WANNA PLAY OR SING AND PLAN
THOSE MOTOR MOVEMENTS AHEAD OF
TIME TO ACCOMPLISH THAT, BUT NOW
YOU HAVE TO ALSO BE AWARE OF
WHAT YOUR FELLOW MUSICIANS ARE
GONNA DO.

Nam says YOU HAVE TO BE IN SYNC.

Laurel says YOU HAVE TO BE IN SYNC.
AND YOU CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR WHAT
THEY'RE GONNA DO BECAUSE IT'S
TOO LATE.
YOU'VE GOTTA BE WITH THEM WHEN
THEY'RE DOING IT.
AND YOU NEED SOME TIME TO PLAN
THOSE MOVEMENTS.
SO, YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO BUILD
IN YOUR BRAIN MODELS THAT ARE
PREDICTING NOT ONLY WHAT YOU'RE
GONNA DO NEXT BUT WHAT THEY'RE
GONNA DO NEXT.
AND SO BASICALLY WHAT WE THINK
HAPPENS IS YOUR BRAIN IS
CONSTANTLY MAKING THESE
PREDICTIONS, AND YOU PLAN YOUR
MOVEMENTS.
YOU PLAY YOUR NOTE A CERTAIN WAY
AT A CERTAIN TIME TO FIT INTO
THOSE PREDICTIONS.
AND IF YOU'RE OFF, THEN YOU HAVE
TO DO ERROR CORRECTION IN REAL
TIME SO THAT THE NEXT NOTE IS
NOT OFF.

Nam says AND THE AUDIENCE DOESN'T SEE
ANYTHING HAPPENED, YEAH.

Laurel says IT'S ALL HAPPENING INSIDE OUR
AMAZING BRAINS.
BUT WITH EEG, WE CAN MONITOR
THAT.
AND WE CAN ALSO LOOK AT HOW MUCH
OF THAT ACTIVITY IS MIRRORED IN
THE AUDIENCE.

Nam says UH HUH.

Laurel says SO, ONE OF THE INTERESTING
THINGS IS PEOPLE LIKE TO GO TO
LIVE CONCERTS WHEN WE COULD SIT
AT HOME.
AND IN MANY VENUES, ACTUALLY,
YOU GET BETTER SOUND AT HOME
THAN YOU WOULD IN THE CONCERT
HALL.
BUT PEOPLE LIKE TO GO TO THE
CONCERT HALL.

Nam says WHY DO PEOPLE--IS IT LIKE A
SOCIAL THING OR DOES IT SOUND
BETTER LIVE OR?

Laurel says WELL, THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT.

Nam says YEAH.

Laurel says I'M NOT SURE THAT IT'S THE
ACOUSTICS BECAUSE YOU CAN--YOU
CAN RECREATE VERY GOOD ACOUSTICS
WITHOUT BEING IN A CONCERT HALL.
I THINK A LOT OF IT IS SOCIAL.
SO, NOT ONLY ARE THE BRAINS OF
THE MUSICIANS SYNCING UP, BUT
THE BRAINS OF THE AUDIENCE
MEMBERS ARE SYNCING UP AS WELL.
AND YOU'RE EXPERIENCING THIS
COMMON THING WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
AND THAT'S A VERY POWERFUL
EXPERIENCE.

Nam says AND MUSIC IS VERY IMPORTANT WITH
INFANTS.
WHY STUDY THE EFFECT OF MUSIC ON
CHILDREN?

The caption changes to "The power of music. Bouncing babies."

Laurel says WELL, ONE OF THE INTERESTING
THINGS IS NOT ONLY IS MUSIC
UNIVERSAL ACROSS ALL HUMAN
SOCIETIES, BUT SINGING TO BABIES
IS UNIVERSAL.
AND SO, THIS ATTRACTED MY
ATTENTION, WELL IT'S ALMOST 30
YEARS AGO.
AND IT WAS AN ACTIVITY THAT WAS
PERFORMED LARGELY BY WOMEN AND
CONSIDERED NOT REALLY VERY
IMPORTANT FOR ANYTHING.
BUT IF YOU THOUGHT--IF YOU THINK
ABOUT IT, WHY WOULD EVERYBODY
AROUND THE WORLD BE DOING THIS?
SO, WE STARTED TO LOOK AT WHAT
ARE BABIES PROCESSING, AND
THEY'RE PROCESSING A LOT IN THE
MUSIC.
AND THEN WHY ARE MOTHERS DOING
IT?
SO, WE LOOKED THE CIRCUMSTANCES
UNDER WHICH MOTHERS SING TO
BABIES AND FATHERS SING TO
BABIES.
AND IT HAPPENS WHEN THEY WANT TO
SOOTHE THE BABY.
IT HAPPENS WHEN THEY WANT TO
ROUSE THE BABY'S ATTENTION TO
LOOK AT INTERESTING THINGS IN
THE WORLD OR DRAW THEIR
ATTENTION TO THEIR, YOU KNOW,
BODY PLAYING WITH THEIR TOES OR
WHATEVER.
AND WHEN THEY WANT TO
COMMUNICATE WITH THE BABY.
SO, IT WAS ALL AROUND SOCIAL
INTERACTION AND EMOTIONAL
REGULATION.
BABIES ARE NOTORIOUSLY BAD AT
REGULATING THEIR STATE.
IF THEY'RE CRYING, THEY REALLY
NEED SOMEONE TO COME AND HELP
SOOTHE THEM.
AND MUSIC AND THE THINGS THAT
ACCOMPANY MUSIC LIKE ROCKING,
RHYTHMIC ROCKING, THOSE ARE SOME
OF THE BEST WAYS TO SOOTHE A
BABY.

Nam says DOES IT MATTER WHAT KIND OF
MUSIC IS PLAYING?

Laurel says WE HAVE NOT FOUND THAT IT
MATTERS WHAT KIND OF MUSIC IS
PLAYING WHETHER IT'S CLASSICAL
OR JAZZ OR POP.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING SEEMS
TO BE THIS COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
THE BABY AND THE CAREGIVER.
AND SO WHATEVER THE CAREGIVER
LIKES, THEY PROBABLY SHOULD PLAY
THAT BECAUSE THEY'RE GONNA BE
THE HAPPIEST.

Nam says HOW ABOUT BLACK SABBATH?

Laurel says WELL, YOU KNOW, THE BABY'S NOT
GONNA UNDERSTAND THE WORDS.
AND ACTUALLY, IF YOU LOOK AT THE
SOME OF THE LYRICS OF SOME
LULLABIES, THEY'RE NOT THAT
PLEASANT EITHER, YOU KNOW?

Nam says YEAH.

Laurel says "WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS THE BABY
WILL FALL."

Nam says THEY'RE SCARY, YEAH.

Laurel says THEY CAN BE REALLY
SCARY.
YEAH.
THE BABY ISN'T AWARE OF THE
WORDS, YEAH.

Nam says YOU BROUGHT US A CLIP OF ONE OF
YOUR STUDIES WITH BABIES AND
MUSIC.
TELL US WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT
HERE.

Laurel says YEAH, WELL HERE WE WERE
INTERESTED IN RHYTHM AND SOCIAL
INTERACTION.
SO IN ADULTS, ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE
MUSIC WITH SOMEONE ELSE, IS YOU
START TO MOVE IN SYNC TO THE
MUSIC.
AND IF SOMEONE ELSE IS ALSO
MOVING IN SYNC TO THE MUSIC,
YOU'RE MOVING IN SYNCHRONY WITH
THAT PERSON.

As she speaks, a clip rolls with the caption "In-sync Bouncing Condition."

Two women wear headphones and bounce to the rhythm of the music. One of the women holds a baby in a baby carrier.

Then one of the women hangs clothes and drops a clothes pin. The baby picks it up and gives it to her.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND IN ADULTS, WE KNOW
THAT THAT EXPERIENCE LEADS
ADULTS TO BECOME SOCIALLY
AFFILIATED.
JUST AFTER MOVING IN SYNC WITH
SOMEBODY FOR A SHORT TIME, YOU
LIKE THEM BETTER, YOU TRUST THEM
MORE, YOU'LL COOPERATE MORE WITH
THEM IF YOU'RE PLAYING A GAME.
AND SO, WE WERE INTERESTED IN
HOW EARLY THESE SOCIAL EFFECTS
COULD BE SEEN IN BABIES.
SO, THESE BABIES, WHAT WE DID IS
WE PLACED THEM IN A CARRIER AND
FACING FORWARD AND ONE PERSON
JUST BOUNCED THE BABY ACCORDING
TO THE BEAT TRACK THAT THEY WERE
HEARING OVER THEIR HEADPHONES.

In the video, the caption changes to "Out-of-sync Bouncing Condition."

The bouncing scene is repeated with another baby, only the women don’t bounce in-sync. Later, the baby refuses to pick up the clothes pin.

Laurel says THE BABY THAT WAS SYNCED UP SO
THAT THE BABY WAS BOUNCING TO
"TWIST AND SHOUT" BY THE
BEATLES.
SO, THAT BABY'S HAVING THIS NICE
EXPERIENCE OF BEING BOUNCED.
THEY'RE FACING AN EXPERIMENTER,
AND THE EXPERIMENTER THAT
THEY'RE FACING IN SOME
CONDITIONS, SHE BOUNCES IN SYNC
WITH THEM, AND IN OTHER
CONDITIONS, SHE BOUNCES AT THE
WRONG TEMPO, SO THEY'RE NOT
BOUNCING IN SYNCHRONY.
AND SO AFTER JUST THREE MINUTES
OF THIS EXPERIENCE WITH THIS
STRANGE EXPERIMENTER, WE SEE HOW
WILLING THE BABY IS TO HELP THE
EXPERIMENTER.
SO, THESE ARE 14-MONTH OLDS.
IT'S ABOUT THE YOUNGEST AGE THAT
YOU CAN GET THEM TO DO OVERT
HELPING.
BUT FOR EXAMPLE, IF THE
EXPERIMENTER ACCIDENTALLY DROPS
THE CRAYON SHE'S USING, WE--THE
BABY HAS 30 SECONDS IN WHICH TO
PICK UP THE CRAYON AND GIVE IT
BACK TO HER, OK?
SOMETIMES THEY DO, SOMETIMES
THEY DON'T.
BUT THE INTERESTING THING IS
THAT THE RATES OF HELPING DOUBLE
JUST AFTER THREE MINUTES OF
BOUNCING IN SYNCHRONY WITH THAT
PERSON.
SO, THE BABIES THAT BOUNCED OUT
OF SYNC WERE MUCH LESS LIKELY TO
HELP THE EXPERIMENTER.

Nam says THAT'S REALLY FASCINATING.
WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL BENEFITS OF
ENGAGING BABIES WITH MUSIC?

Laurel says WELL, AS YOU CAN SEE, IT'S ONE
OF THE WAYS THAT WE DEVELOP
SOCIAL AFFILIATION.
SO, IF YOU LOOK IN A--A DAYCARE
SETTING OR A KINDERGARTEN
SETTING, A GOOD TEACHER WILL
USE MUSIC A LOT.

Nam says I KNOW ONE SONG.
CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Laurel says EXACTLY.
EVERYBODY CLEAN UP
IF YOU JUST SAID
TO THE BABY, "OK,
IT'S TIME TO CLEAN UP, LET'S
CLEAN UP," YOU MIGHT GET SOME
COMPLIANCE.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says BUT IF YOU HAVE A SONG AND
EVERYBODY'S SINGING THE SONG,
EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT, IT BECOMES
ASSOCIATED WITH THAT ACTIVITY,
AND YOU GET COOPERATION AMONG
ALL THESE KIDS WHO OTHERWISE
MIGHT BE OFF DOING THEIR OWN
THING.

Nam says DOES THIS EXTEND INTO ADULTHOOD?

Laurel says IT DOES.

Nam says HOW?

Laurel says YEAH, IT DOES.
IT'S NO MISTAKE THAT WE HAVE
MUSIC AT PARTIES.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says YOU KNOW, SOME CORPORATIONS ARE
NOW HAVING--SING SONGS,
CORPORATION SONGS AND SO ON
BECAUSE IT DOES LEAD TO
AFFILIATION AND COOPERATION.

Nam says WILL THESE KIDS GROW UP TO
BECOME MUSICIANS?

Laurel says NOT NECESSARILY.

Nam says MM HMM.
EVERYONE IN MY MIND IS A
MUSICIAN IN THE SENSE THAT THERE
ARE VERY FEW PEOPLE WHO DON'T
LIKE MUSIC, WHO DON'T APPRECIATE
MUSIC.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says IN MODERN SOCIETY WHERE WE HAVE
ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY WHERE WE CAN
LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE'S MUSIC,
YOU KNOW, THROUGH RECORDINGS AND
THE INTERNET AND SO ON, IT'S
PRETTY UNUSUAL IN THE HISTORY OF
THE HUMAN RACE.
SO MOST OF THE TIME, WE'VE HAD
TO MAKE OUR OWN MUSIC.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND PEOPLE STILL ENJOY THAT, YOU
KNOW?
EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT A
PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN.
KIDS, TEENAGERS GET TOGETHER
AND, YOU KNOW, HAVE THE BAND IN
THE BASEMENT.
BUT EVEN OLDER PEOPLE REALLY
ENJOY LISTENING TO MUSIC AND
GOING TO CONCERTS.

Nam says IN MY DAY, IT WAS SHARING MIXED
TAPES.

Laurel says YES.
YEAH, YEAH.

Nam says WE HAVE ANOTHER CLIP HERE OF A
MOM SINGING A SONG TO HER BABY
THAT WENT VIRAL THREE YEARS AGO.

A clip rolls.

The mother sings I DON'T WANT YOU TO COME
ROUND HERE NO MORE.
I BEG YOU FOR MERCY.
YOU DON'T KNOW HOW STRONG MY
WEAKNESS IS.
OR HOW MUCH IT HURTS ME.
'CAUSE WHEN YOU SAID IT'S
OVER WITH HIM
I WANT TO BELIEVE IT'S
TRUE

The baby tears up.

Nam says OH MY GOSH, THOSE CHEEKS.

Laurel says IT'S MAKING US CRY TOO, RIGHT?

Nam says I KNOW, IT'S MAKING ME
EMOTIONAL.

Laurel says YEAH, YEAH.

Nam says WHY WOULD THE BABY RESPOND SO
EMOTIONALLY?

Laurel says YEAH.
WELL, MUSIC HAS THIS EFFECT ON
US.
I THINK--IT'S A BIG AREA OF
RESEARCH NOW HOW MUSIC CREATES
THESE EMOTIONAL RESPONSES IN US.
IT'S CLEAR THAT IT DOES.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says SO, IN ADULTS WE KNOW THAT THE
STRIATUM AREAS OF THE BRAIN THAT
ARE ASSOCIATED WITH REWARD FOR
FOOD AND SEX AND SO ON ARE
ACTIVATED BY MUSIC THAT MOVES US
EMOTIONALLY.
SO, MUSIC USES THE SAME PATHWAYS
IN THE BRAIN AS OTHER
EXPERIENCES THAT WE HAVE THAT
MOVE US EMOTIONALLY.
AND THAT'S ALMOST CERTAINLY TRUE
IN INFANTS AS WELL.
PART OF IT IS THAT MOTHER HAS A
BEAUTIFUL VOICE, RIGHT?

Nam says SHE DOES.

Laurel says IT'S--AND THERE'S A CERTAIN
TIMBRE OF THAT VOICE.
AND SOME OF THE STUDIES THAT
WE'VE DONE SHOW THAT INFANTS ARE
VERY SENSITIVE TO TIMBRE.
THEY PREFER INFANT-DIRECTED TYPE
SINGING OVER ADULT-DIRECTED
SINGING.
THEY PREFER THAT LOVING TONE OF
VOICE OVER A HARSH TONE OF
VOICE.
SO, THEY'RE VERY SENSITIVE TO
THE QUALITY OF THE VOICE.
BUT THEY'RE ALSO SENSITIVE TO
OTHER THINGS IN THE MUSIC THAT
CAUSE EMOTIONS IN US.
AND ONE OF THOSE BIG ONES IS
EXPECTATIONS.
SO IN A WAY, WE CAN THINK OF THE
BRAIN AS AN ORGANISM THAT IS
CONSTANTLY PREDICTING ITS
FUTURE.
SO, AS YOU'RE LISTENING TO ME
TALKING, YOUR BRAIN
SUBCONSCIOUSLY--YOU'RE PROBABLY
NOT AWARE OF IT, BUT YOUR BRAIN
IS CONTINUALLY PREDICTING
WHAT--I WAS GONNA SAY WHAT NOTE,
BUT WHAT WORD I'M GONNA SAY
NEXT.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND MOST OF THE TIME YOU'RE
PRETTY ACCURATE AT KNOWING WHAT
WORD I'M GONNA SAY BEFORE I'VE
SAID IT.
BUT IF I SAY SOMETHING STRANGE
LIKE IF I SUDDENLY SAY "POLKA
DOTTED SPIDER," YOUR BRAIN WENT
"WHOA, WHAT HAPPENED THERE?
I DIDN'T PREDICT THAT."
YEAH.
AND THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF
PROCESSES GOING ON THAT WE CAN
MEASURE WITH EEG WHEN YOU DON'T
PREDICT CORRECTLY.

Nam says HMM.

Laurel says AND MUSIC MAKES USE OF THAT.
SO, THE SAME THING IN MUSIC.
WE KNOW--OFTEN, YOU KNOW,
CERTAIN CHORDS OR CERTAIN NOTES
WE EXPECT TO COME NEXT.
AND IF YOU CHANGE THAT A LITTLE
BIT, THAT'S WHERE YOU OFTEN GET
THE REALLY EMOTIONAL RESPONSES.
SO, IT CAN BE AN UNEXPECTED
CHORD OR A NOTE IN A PIECE.
IT CAN BE SOMETHING HAPPENING AT
A DIFFERENT TIME.
SO THE PIECE REALLY SHOULD END
HERE, A PHRASE SHOULD END HERE.
YOU'RE EXPECTING THAT.
BUT IT DOESN'T; IT GOES ON A
LITTLE BIT LONGER.
AND THAT CREATES AN EMOTIONAL
RESPONSE IN YOU.
SO, ANYTHING THAT IS A LITTLE
BIT UNPREDICTED SETS UP THIS
CASCADE OF PROCESSES IN THE
BRAIN TO DEAL WITH THAT.
AND IT REALLY RELIES ON
EVOLUTIONARILY ANCIENT
MECHANISMS IN THE BRAIN THAT
CREATED EMOTIONS WHEN WE DIDN'T
CORRECTLY PREDICT THINGS.
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE OUT
IN THE JINGLE AND THERE'S A
TIGER AND YOU THINK IT'S, YOU
KNOW, A FRIENDLY GAZELLE...

Nam says YOU'RE DEAD.

Laurel says YOUR DEAD.

Nam laughs and says YEAH.

Laurel says SO, YOU--THERE'S A HUGE PREMIUM
PLACED ON CORRECT PREDICTION.

Nam says IT'S FASCINATING 'CAUSE I KNOW
LIKE IN HOLLY--IN THE MUSIC
WORLD, THEY HAVE PRODUCERS WHO
HAVE PERFECTED A FORMULA FOR
HAVING A SUCCESSFUL HIT SONG.

Laurel says MM HMM.

Nam says SO, THAT'S IN LINE WITH
WHAT YOU'RE SAYING?

The caption changes to "The power of music. Synchronicity."

Laurel says YEAH, YEAH.
MUSIC USES THESE PARTS OF THE
BRAIN THAT DEVELOPED OFTEN FOR
OTHER THINGS...

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says BUT IT MAKES USE OF THEM
IN--IN CREATING EMOTIONAL
RESPONSES IN US.

Nam says WE TALKED ABOUT THIS A LITTLE
BIT EARLIER, YOU ALSO STUDIED
THE WAY MUSICIANS INTERACT ON
STAGE WITH EACH OTHER.
WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO LEARN FROM
THIS STUDY?

Laurel says YEAH, WE ACTUALLY--WE HAD THE
PRIVILEGE OF WORKING WITH TWO OF
CANADA'S FINEST STRING QUARTETS.
THE AFIARA QUARTET AND THE
CECILIA QUARTET.
AND THEY, AS MUSICIANS, ARE VERY
INTERESTED IN THE NEUROSCIENCE
BEHIND WHAT THEY'RE DOING, WHY
THEY'RE DOING IT, HOW THEY CAN
CONNECT WITH AUDIENCES AND SO
ON.

Nam says HMM.

Laurel says AND SO, WE WERE INTERESTED THERE
IN "OK, THERE'S FOUR PEOPLE.
THERE'S NO CONDUCTOR.
WHO FOLLOWS WHO?"
IS IT COMPLETELY DEMOCRATIC AND
EVERYBODY FOLLOWS EACH OTHER
EQUALLY?
OR DO YOU TEND TO HAVE ONE
PERSON WHO IS THE LEADER OF
GROUP--LIKE MAYBE THE FIRST
VIOLINIST...

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND OTHER PEOPLE FOLLOW THEM?
SO, WE USED ANOTHER CAPABILITY
OF THE LIVELAB WHICH IS OUR
MOTION CAPTURE SYSTEM.
SO WE CAN PLACE LITTLE
REFLECTIVE MARKERS ON PEOPLE'S
BODIES, AND WE HAVE INFRARED
CAMERAS THAT REFLECT INFRARED
LIGHT OFF THESE MARKERS FROM
DIFFERENT ANGLES.
AND WE CAN RE-CREATE THREE-
DIMENSIONAL RENDITIONS OF THE
MOVEMENTS THAT PEOPLE MADE.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says SO, WE CAN LOOK IN DETAIL AT
WHAT THESE STRING QUARTET
PLAYERS--HOW THEY MOVED.

Nam says YEAH.

Laurel says AND BY DOING MATHEMATICAL
MODELLING, WE CAN TAKE THE
MOVEMENTS OF ONE PERSON AND LINE
THEM UP WITH WHAT ANOTHER PERSON
WAS DOING JUST A SPLIT SECOND
LATER AND WE CAN SAY,
"WHO IS FOLLOWING WHO?"

Nam says WE ACTUALLY HAVE A CLIP OF THAT.
CAN WE...

Laurel says SURE, YEAH, YEAH.
CAN WE TAKE A LOOK AT THAT?

Laurel says YEAH, YEAH.

A band plays as a 3d image on a screen follows the moves of the pianist.

The song goes HE WAS WALKING ALONG THE
ROAD
AND I ASKED HIM WHERE ARE
YOU GOING
AND THIS
THIS HE TOLD ME
HE SAID I'M GOING TO DOWN TO
YASGUR'S FARM
I'M GOING TO JOIN IN A ROCK
AND ROLL BAND
I'M GOING TO CAMP OUT
ON THE LAND
I'M GOING TO TRY
TRY AND GET MY SOUL

Nam says WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS
FROM THIS RESEARCH?

Laurel says WELL, WE THINK THAT MUSIC
ACTUALLY CAN BE USED IN A LOT OF
SITUATIONS TO PROMOTE HEALTH.
SO, FIRST OF ALL, AS WE TALKED
ABOUT WITH BABIES...

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says WE'VE DONE LONGITUDINAL
STUDIES WHERE WE MEASURED
INFANTS OVER TIME WHO ARE IN
MUSIC CLASSES WITH THEIR PARENTS
OR NOT.
AND THE INFANTS WHO ARE IN THE
MUSIC CLASSES SHOW BETTER
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT, BETTER
LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT, BETTER
SOCIAL SKILLS.
SO, JUST INCORPORATING MUSIC
INTO THE CURRICULUM FOR CHILDREN
HAS BENEFITS.
BEYOND THAT, THIS RHYTHMIC SORT
OF SYNCHRONIZATION THAT I'VE
TALKED ABOUT AS BEING SO
IMPORTANT IN MANY DEVELOPMENTAL
DISORDERS, THERE'S A DISRUPTION
OF THAT--OF THOSE PROCESSES
SO, DYSLEXIA, FOR EXAMPLE, WHICH
MANIFESTS AS A DIFFICULTY
READING AND PROCESSING SPEECH
SOUNDS, BUT IT SEEMS LOOK A CORE
DEFICIT IN DYSLEXIA IS NOT
HEARING OR NOT BEING ABLE TO
PROCESS THE RHYTHMIC PATTERNS OF
SYLLABLES AS THEY UNFOLD, MAKING
IT DIFFICULT TO GET INTO THE
LANGUAGE.
IT SHOWS UP IN DEVELOPMENTAL
COORDINATION DISORDER.
SO, THESE ARE KIDS WHO
ARE--MAKE--ARE SORT OF CLUMSY IN
MOVEMENTS.
THEY ALSO CAN MANIFEST WITH
GENERALIZED TIMING DEFICITS.
AND MUSIC MAY BE ABLE TO HELP
THEM AS WELL.
ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER.
MUSIC CAN CALM THEM DOWN; IT CAN
GIVE THEM A SCAFFOLD ON WHICH TO
PROCESS INFORMATION.
AUTISM.
SO, KIDS WITH AUTISM ARE VERY
ATTRACTED TO MUSIC MUCH MORE SO
THAN LANGUAGE ACTUALLY.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND I THINK WHAT THE MUSIC DOES
FOR THEM IS--YOU KNOW, FOR THEM
THE SENSORY WORLD IS VERY
DISORGANIZED AND VERY DISJUNCT.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says THEY HAVE TROUBLE FILTERING.
AND WHAT THE RHYTHMIC REGULARITY
OF MUSIC DOES IS IT GIVES THEIR
BRAIN A SCAFFOLD ON WHICH THE
HANG THE INFORMATION THAT'S
COMING IN, WHETHER IT'S SPEECH
OR MUSIC.
SO, MUSIC HAS TREMENDOUS
POSSIBILITIES FOR HELPING
CHILDREN WITH ALL KINDS OF
DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.

Nam says AND WE WERE--IF WE WERE TO
REPLACE THOSE MUSICIANS THAT WE
SAW EARLIER WITH A JAZZ ENSEMBLE
AND JUST ALLOWED THEM TO
IMPROVISE, WHAT WOULD THAT
CHANGE?
WOULD IT CHANGE ANYTHING?

Laurel says YEAH, THAT CLIP WE SAW WAS
ACTUALLY LILA BEALIE,
NOT A STRING QUARTET WHICH
IS A JAZZ GROUP, AND WE'RE
VERY INTERESTED IN THAT AS WELL.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND IMPROVISATION IS AN AMAZING
THING THAT WE HAVE NOT A LOT OF
UNDERSTANDING OF YET, BUT THIS
IS JUST BEING ABLE TO CREATE THE
MUSIC ON THE FLY.
AND WHAT IT SEEMS TO INVOLVE IS
A PARTICULAR CONFIGURATION OF
PROCESSING IN THE FRONTAL AND
PREFRONTAL AREAS.
THAT'S NOT UNLIKE THE SORT OF
ALTERED STATE YOU CAN GET INTO
WHEN YOU MEDITATE.
SO, IT SEEMS LIKE WHAT HAPPENS
THERE IS PEOPLE ARE VERY AWARE
OF THEMSELVES AND THEIR
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SIDE OF
THEMSELVES...

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says BUT THEY'VE KIND OF TURNED OFF
THEIR IMMEDIATE ERROR
MONITORING.
SO, IT'S AS IF THEY'RE NOT
WORRYING IF THEY'RE GONNA MAKE A
MISTAKE OR WHAT PEOPLE ARE GONNA
THINK ABOUT THEIR MUSIC.
THEY'RE KIND OF OFF IN A ZONE
WHERE THEY'RE JUST VERY AWARE OF
WHAT THEY'RE DOING IN THE
MOMENT.
WHICH IS ALSO, YOU KNOW,
SOMETHING THAT PROBABLY COULD
BENEFIT A LOT OF US.

Nam says TO WHAT EXTENT HAS MUSIC HELPED
THE HUMAN SPECIES EVOLVE?

The caption changes to "The power of music. More than entertainment."

Laurel says YEAH, I MEAN THAT'S A VERY
INTERESTING AND VERY DIFFICULT
QUESTION.
MUSIC HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG
TIME.

Nam says YEAH.

Laurel says I SUSPECT THAT IT CAME INTO
BEING BECAUSE WE ARE A VERY
SOCIAL SPECIES.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says WE CANNOT SURVIVE ON OUR OWN.
WE REALLY RELY ON OTHER PEOPLE.
SO, NOT ONLY FOR, YOU KNOW,
CREATING TECHNOLOGIES AND SO ON,
BUT IN OUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVING, WE
NEED TO INTERACT WITH OTHER
PEOPLE.
AND THAT'S REALLY ONE OF THE BIG
REASONS WHY WE'VE BEEN
SUCCESSFUL AS A SPECIES.
AND MUSIC WAS PROBABLY A BIG
CONTRIBUTOR TO THAT.
SO THIS--ENCOURAGING US TO MOVE
TOGETHER; TO INTERACT TOGETHER;
TO DO THINGS TOGETHER; TO, YOU
KNOW, WORK TOGETHER.
IF YOU SING A SONG, IT'S EASIER
TO WORK WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
SO MUSIC PROBABLY PLAYED A BIG
ROLE IN HOW WE BECAME SUCH A
SOCIAL SPECIES.

Nam says IF MUSIC PLAYS SUCH A BIG ROLE
IN OUR LIVES, WHY AREN'T WE ALL
MUSICIANS AND SINGERS?
I MEAN, I THINK I CAN SING IN
THE SHOWER, BUT IT TOTALLY
DEPENDS ON WHO'S LISTENING.

Laurel says WELL, I THINK IN A WAY WE ARE.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says AND IF YOU LOOK AROUND THE WORLD
OR YOU LOOK THROUGH HISTORY,
EVERYONE SANG AND EVERYONE
PLAYED MUSIC.
IT'S ONLY IN THE SORT OF LAST
100 YEARS OR SO THAT WE HAVE
THIS TECHNOLOGY THAT ALLOWS US
TO LISTEN TO MUSIC WITHOUT
HAVING TO NECESSARILY PRODUCE
IT.
BUT EVEN WHEN YOU LISTEN TO
MUSIC, YOU'RE USING A LOT OF THE
SAME BRAIN AREAS THAT YOU WOULD
USE TO MAKE MUSIC.
AND MANY PEOPLE CAN'T HELP BUT
SING ALONG.
I THINK WE WOULD ALL BE HAPPIER
IF WE DID SING IN FACT.

Nam says YOU'RE A MUSICIAN, RIGHT?

Laurel says YES, I AM.

Nam says AND WHAT DO YOU PLAY?

Laurel says I PLAY FLUTE.

Nam says FLUTE?

Laurel says YEAH, YEAH.

Nam says AND DO YOU THINK THAT HAVING
THAT SIDE HELPS YOU WITH WHAT
YOU'RE DOING NOW?

Laurel says OH ABSOLUTELY, YEAH.
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WAS ONE OF
THOSE PEOPLE THAT COULD NEVER
MAKE UP THEIR MIND WHAT THEY
WANTED TO DO IN LIFE.
BE A MUSICIAN, BE A SCIENTIST.
AND I KIND OF WENT BACK AND
FORTH FOR A WHILE.
BUT I CAN'T IMAGINE A LIFE
WITHOUT MUSIC.

Nam says NOW, YOU HEAR A LOT OF PARENTS
WHO TRY TO GET THEIR KIDS TO GO
INTO, YOU KNOW, PLAY THE PIANO,
GET YOUR PIANO LESSONS.
DOES THAT HELP KIDS IN THE LONG
RUN?

Laurel says IT CAN.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS I THINK
IS TO TRY TO MAKE IT ENJOYABLE.
THERE'S NOTHING WORSE THAN
TAKING SOMETHING AS AMAZING AS
MUSIC AND HAVING CHILDREN NOT
WANNA DO IT.
SO, IT'S A LOT OF HARD WORK TO
LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT.
THERE'S NO DOUBT.
IT TAKES MOTIVATION AND PATIENCE
AND TIME.
BUT KIDS WILL DO THAT IF THEY'RE
MOTIVATED.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says SO, IF THERE'S A PIECE THAT THEY
REALLY WANNA PLAY OR SOMETHING
THEY REALLY WANNA SING, THEY
WILL SPEND ENDLESS HOURS TRYING
TO PERFECT THAT.
IF SOMEONE COMES IN FROM THE
OUTSIDE AND SAYS, "YOU'RE GONNA
DO THIS; I DON'T CARE IF YOU
LIKE IT OR NOT," THAT'S PROBABLY
NOT THE BEST APPROACH.
BUT ABSOLUTELY MUSIC CAN HELP
KIDS.

Nam says ARE WE THE ONLY SPECIES THAT
MAKES MUSIC?

Laurel says THAT'S UNDER A LOT OF DEBATE
RIGHT NOW.
WE PROBABLY ARE THE ONLY SPECIES
THAT MAKES MUSIC.
CERTAINLY IN THE WAY THAT WE DO.
OUR CLOSEST GENETIC RELATIVES DO
NOT.
SO, IF YOU LOOK AT THE GREAT
APES--THE BONOBOS, THE
CHIMPANZEES--THEY COULD CARE
LESS ABOUT MUSIC.
THEY DON'T--THEY REALLY DON'T DO
MUSIC IN ANY SENSE LIKE WE DO.
YOU HAVE TO GO VERY FAR AWAY.
SO, THERE ARE SOME BIRDS WHO
SING.
AND THERE'S--THEY USE IT IN
SOCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES.
AND THEY USE IT SOMEWHAT
SIMILARLY TO HOW WE DO.

Nam says DOES IT COME TO THEM WHEN
THEY HEAR IT?
LIKE, DO THEY--I KNOW
PARROTS--DOES IT COMFORT THEM?

Laurel says I ASSUME IT DOES BECAUSE THEY
USE IT IN MATING; THEY USE IT IN
INTERACTING WITH THEIR YOUNG.

Nam says MM HMM.

Laurel says YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD TO KNOW FOR
SURE WHAT THEY'RE FEELING, BUT
SOME--A FEW SPECIES WHO ARE THE
VOCAL LEARNING BIRDS ACTUALLY
WILL MOVE TO MUSIC.
BUT BIRDS ARE VERY DISTANT FROM
US GENETICALLY.
I MEAN, WE SPLIT OFF FROM THEM A
LONG, LONG, LONG TIME AGO.
SO PROBABLY WE DEVELOPED MUSIC
INDEPENDENTLY, AND THEY
DEVELOPED WHAT THEY DO
INDEPENDENTLY.
BUT THERE'S SOME SIMILARITIES IN
WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT WE DO.

Nam says LAUREL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
BEING HERE.

Laurel says OH, MY PLEASURE.

Nam says I COULD SPEAK TO YOU FOR
ANOTHER HALF AN HOUR.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Laurel says YEAH, MY PLEASURE.

The caption changes to "The power of music. Producer: Colin Ellis @CollinEllis81

Watch: The Power of Music