20 March 2007

When neuroscience "meets" psychology but doesn't see it...

What an interesting scientific result I’ve just heard this morning! I didn’t think I would ever be excited about science anymore… The funny thing is that the woman telling her results wasn’t actually completely convinced herself and said she remained very cautious because she’d only studied 10 subjects. But let me tell you more about her study.

She takes 2- and 3-days old babies and while they’re asleep, she makes them listen to either classical music (Bach and Mozart) or spoken words (language). While this is happening, the babies are monitored by a technique called fMRI that allows observing which part of the brain is activated for a given task/action. What she saw in those babies is that a specific part of the right brain hemisphere was activated when the music was on while it was a part of the left brain hemisphere that lit up in the machine when they were talked to.

The woman said that she was very surprised that differentiation between the two brain hemispheres happened so early in life and she wasn’t expecting this. I wondered why she was surprised: language is a sound that is structured, rational and follows well established rules; it would therefore have to activate the left, logos, masculine brain hemisphere. Music on the other hand falls into creativity, diffuse awareness and feelings and would have to be picked up by the right, creative, Eros, feminine brain hemisphere. Still, I realised quickly that I was the only one in the group of people she was talking to for whom her results made complete sense.

I felt rather frustrated that they couldn’t see the bigger picture but I decided to keep my mouth shut, mostly because of the professional body that I represented in this event. This study serves so well psychology… Yet, it is so surprising to scientists that they can’t believe it… Shame!

1 comment:

Sadiq M. Alam said...

many thanks for sharing this. i am also interested with psychology and neuroscience. would love to hear more from u.

drop me an email if possible,