Making music with Brainwaves via FMRI

“Inside each of us there’s a symphony going at all times,” Dan Lloyd, Ph.D., a philosopher at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., said. “We’re never quiet inside.”

Now Dr. Lloyd is using medical imaging to “tune in” to the inner soundtrack of your mind, by turning brain scans into music.

“Basically, I think of the brain as if it were a musical instrument,” Dr. Lloyd said.

Brains are scanned using FMRI. Active areas light up and are assigned a different note. As the intensity of the activity increases, so does the volume of the sound. Dr. Lloyd has created symphonies using healthy brains of young and old.

“It turns out that young and old is not so different,” Dr. Lloyd explained.

He’s also created “music” with schizophrenic brains.

“I think with the brains in schizophrenia, there’s a tendency for things to drift out of synchrony and so it comes out a little jazzier,” Dr. Lloyd explained. “This is consistent with hypotheses about the nature of schizophrenia that attribute some of the problems of the illness with failure of the brain regions to coordinate properly.”

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