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What Your Brain Sounds Like On Music

Don't worry, it's not thought control.

November 30, 2023
by Pat Joseph
As one ages the brain becomes smaller, illustration of an adult and a child on a brick wall ISTOCKPHOTO/ANDREA NICOLINI

Using artificial intelligence software, Berkeley scientists successfully reconstructed the Pink Floyd song “Another Brick in the Wall” from recordings made of electrical activity in patients’ brains as they listened.

Professor Robert Knight, a neurologist at UC Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, explained to Berkeley News that the technique “gives you a way to add musicality to future brain implants for people who need it, someone who’s got ALS or some other disabling neurological or developmental disorder compromising speech output. It gives you an ability to decode not only the linguistic content, but some of the prosodic content of speech, some of the affect.”

As for the choice of songs, well, it’s interesting to say the least. We don’t need no thought control? Yikes. But put your paranoia to rest for now. Intracranial electroencephalography recordings can only be made with electrodes placed directly on the brain, so there’s no need to worry about anyone listening to your auditory cortex without your permission.

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