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MIDI MARIAH: MARIAH CAREY CHRISTMAS HIT FOOLS THE HUMAN BRAIN
SCEENGRAB: Mariah Carey's Christmas classic All I Want For Christmas Is You, but as you have probably never heard it before when converted to a midi file. Listen video below...READ FROM THE BEGINNING...
ALSO 50 ideas to change science: Neuroscience
Transparency ahead Thanks to better brain imaging and biological insights, we’re closing in on the neurons of consciousness and the subtleties of our mental machinery Cognitive control Towards the seat of consciousness The question “what is consciousness?” represents one of the great frontiers of contemporary science. Thanks to studies of humans and animals, we now know that it is a subtly nuanced state whose nature and intensity varies according to the brain’s intrinsic level of activity, its chemical microclimate and the information it receives from outside. By exploiting the normal vicissitudes of waking, sleeping and dreaming states, we are now beginning to explore how consciousness is expressed and controlled. For example, I have been involved in studies comparing brain activation in REM sleep with that in lucid-dreaming states, in which we retain much executive brain function. They seem to confirm the central importance of one specific area of the frontal brain – the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – in regulating many key aspects of consciousness, including attention, decision-making and voluntary action. READ MORE OR SCROLL DOWN TO "TOP-DOWN PROCESSING"...
ALSO MARIAH CAREY' Official video: All I Want For Christmas Is You
SCREENGRAB: HAVE A LISTEN, SING ALONG WITH MARIAH...LYRICS ADDED...ENJOY...SCROLL DOWN.
READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:
Mariah Carey Christmas hit fools the brain
SCEENGRAB: Mariah Carey's Christmas classic All I Want For Christmas Is You, but as you have probably never heard it before. Listen below...
CYBERSPACE, DEC. 21, 2015 (NEW SCIENTIST) Before reading any further, listen to the video above.
That was Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic All I Want For Christmas Is You, but as you have probably never heard it before. Earlier this week, someone converted the song to MIDI – a digital way to record sound – and posted it on Tumblr.
Another blogger shared the song in frustration: “I’m driving myself up the wall because I swear I can hear the vocal line but I don’t know how that could be if it was truly converted to MIDI.”
Carey’s voice seemed to be there, even though it shouldn’t be – the MIDI music standard is simple, and can’t capture the full richness of the human voice (or any other real instrument).
The post has generated thousands of notes and intense curiosity. Here at New Scientist we agree: we swear we can hear a ghostly Mariah belting along in the background.
What is going on?
How trippy version of Mariah Carey Christmas hit fools the brain
Diana Deutsch, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, thinks she knows.
Deutsch specialises in auditory illusions: tricks of sound that make people hear words or melodies that aren’t there.
I waited on the phone as Deutsch opened up the MIDI Mariah file and listened to the song for the first time. And then, I was crushed to hear her say: “Actually, I don’t hear it.”
In fact, Deutsch hadn’t ever heard the original. That’s why the illusion worked for me and failed for her, she says. It’s an example of what psychologists call top-down processing, when the brain uses information it already has to try to understand the world around it.
I already knew the song: my brain had a template saved that it could match the new sounds to, filling in the non-existent vocals. My expectations shaped my perceptions.
“This must be a very strong example of having the template and then invoking it,” she says. “It seems like the brain abhors ambiguity and wants to make sense out of things, so we create for ourselves precepts of things that aren’t really there.”
For an example that predates the Carey clip, check out this video of the Bee Gees disco hit Stayin’ Alive, also converted to MIDI. People who hadn’t heard the song before say they didn’t hear lyrics on their first listen. But when they listened to the real song and then went back to the MIDI, the voices suddenly seemed to appear.
https://youtu.be/ZY6h3pKqYI0 Auditory Illusions: Hearing Lyrics Where There Are None pyblished by MonotoneTim on Mar 4, 2015 Was looking for a midi for a project, but I couldn't find the one I needed. Came across a website that promised to convert MP3s to midis, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Aside from the fact that the result sounded like a piano factory exploding, I also could have sworn I heard sung lyrics in it, even though the only midi track was a piano. Not sure how the converter works, but I guess the way vocals are recreated via piano is similar enough to the real song for our brains to mentally fill in the words where there aren't any. Maybe? Pianos usually don't talk. The song is BeeGees disco Stayin Alive.
New Scientist also conducted our own internal test. While most of us could pick out every word of MIDI Mariah, far fewer could hear the words to MIDIfied Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces, because they had never heard the song.
Top-down processing is to our advantage, says Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis. It makes humans and animals more sensitive to potential threats or benefits in the world around them.
“There’s a lot of value to predicting what might happen based on prior knowledge,” he says. “It’s the role of nervous systems in general to learn to perceive and interact with the environments in which they find themselves.”
Primed for words
It may also help that most people who hear the clip are primed to hear Carey’s voice, by reading her name and the title of the song before they listen.
He compares the Carey illusion to the phenomenon of people claiming to hear hidden messages in songs played backwards. In one of his classes, he plays Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven backwards and asks students if they caught any words. Then, he gives them a paragraph of text supposedly encoded in the recording and plays it for a second time.
“When I play it again, they’re all just blown away that all of the sudden they can hear all that in the music,” he says. “But it’s really just our brain imposing that interpretation, picking out the viable evidence in the signal to conform and support our expectations.”
In other words: we hear what we want to hear.
Image credit: James Devaney/Getty
50 ideas to change science: Neuroscience
Thanks to better brain imaging and biological insights, we’re closing in on the neurons of consciousness and the subtleties of our mental machinery
Towards the seat of consciousness
The question “what is consciousness?” represents one of the great frontiers of contemporary science. Thanks to studies of humans and animals, we now know that it is a subtly nuanced state whose nature and intensity varies according to the brain’s intrinsic level of activity, its chemical microclimate and the information it receives from outside.
By exploiting the normal vicissitudes of waking, sleeping and dreaming states, we are now beginning to explore how consciousness is expressed and controlled. For example, I have been involved in studies comparing brain activation in REM sleep with that in lucid-dreaming states, in which we retain much executive brain function. They seem to confirm the central importance of one specific area of the frontal brain – the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – in regulating many key aspects of consciousness, including attention, decision-making and voluntary action.
READ MORE OR SCROLL DOWN TO "TOP-DOWN PROCESSING"
A combination of imaging techniques, judicious measures of subjective experience and detailed cellular and molecular-level studies will continue to deepen our understanding of our cognitive command centres in the coming years. With them we hope to crack the puzzle of consciousness, and perhaps correct the dysfunctional states of the brain we now call mental illness. Allan Hobson
Allan Hobson is emeritus professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Understanding the routes by which populations of brain cells share information would be a major step towards understanding how our brains function. But although we can infer individual connections, we have no basic wiring diagram of the human brain.
This is hardly surprising. The brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons, and a single neuron may connect to 10,000 others. Yet emerging techniques mean we are now making headway in this daunting task.
Using electron microscopes, for example, we can probe animal brains neuron-by-neuron, connection-by-connection, in the hope of discovering characteristic circuits that repeat themselves throughout the brain. From a wider perspective, brain imaging technologies can map the brain’s highways – large “cables” consisting of many thousands of connections between distinct brain regions.
The US National Institutes of Health has begun to fund a major effort, the Human Connectome Project, to generate a comprehensive map of large-scale brain connections in humans. Following its directions, we might arrive at a better understanding of how the brain’s regions interact to produce behaviour. Tim Behrens
Tim Behrens is a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford:
“Drawing a basic map of the brain would help us to understand
how its regions interact to make behaviour”
The key to how we learn and think – possibly
The saying “monkey see, monkey do” couldn’t be more true. Thanks to “mirror” neurons that fire not only when we perform an action ourselves but also when we see others perform it, our primate brains subconsciously mimic every behaviour they ever witness.
That’s the theory, at least. Mirror neurons were first discovered in macaques in the 1990s, and brain scans using functional MRI had hinted that they exist in humans too. But it wasn’t until May this year that researchers measured the firing of mirror neurons in humans directly, using electrodes implanted in the brains of epileptic patients awaiting surgery (Current Biology, vol 20, p 750).
While proponents of the power of mirror neurons claim they explain everything from empathy and compassion to a penchant for porn, their exact significance remains controversial. The next few years will see us homing in on what exactly they can and cannot explain about human cognition.
Our past determines our present
What’s in a name? The words behind thought The voice of reason? (Image: Katherine Streeter You think more words than you speak – perhaps because language really does shape the way we navigate the world
The human eye is a camera that faithfully records everything in front of us, passing the information through the brain’s visual processor before it pops out as a conscious experience.
This “bottom-up” process represents the textbook view. In truth, we are realising that our experience is closer to a form of augmented reality, in which our brain redraws what it sees to best fit our expectations and memories.
The same goes for our other senses, and the growing suspicion is that kinks in this system of “top-down processing” might shed light on neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and dyslexia. Whether or not that turns out to be the case, this idea is radically changing our view of how our past influences our here and now.
Culture is a parasite
The architecture of our brains far predates writing, religion and art. So how come we acquire these cultural traits and abilities with such ease?
The standard answer is that our big, plastic brains have a uniquely flexible and generalised learning capacity. But is that true? The human brain is not homogeneous, after all, but organised into specialised areas. Moreover, brain imaging reveals that abilities such as reading and mathematics have distinct “neuronal niches”; they too are confined to specific brain circuits.
That is compelling evidence for an idea known as neuronal recycling: that our cultural abilities invaded and parasitised brain circuits originally dedicated to evolutionarily older, but related functions.
Reading, for example, seems to occupy circuits sensitive to complex shapes and with good connections to areas dealing with language (Reading in the Brain, Viking, 2009). If correct, it is our brains shape our culture, rather than our culture our brains. Human ingenuity is not unlimited, but fundamentally constrained by neural architecture.
Food for thought
You’ve got a big report to file, and the clock is ticking. If only you could concentrate harder, recall facts and figures more effectively, or just shake off that feeling of fatigue after yesterday’s late night.
Soon a brain boost might follow a visit to your local pharmacy. Psychostimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall, prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Aricept, used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, have been shown to improve concentration and recall in healthy people, too.
Such drugs are not currently available without a prescription, but some researchers say they should be. Multiply that extra brain power by the 7 billion members of the human race, they say, and the benefits to society and the pursuit of knowledge would soon start to add up. But is a race of drugged-up super-brains what we really want to be? Food for thought indeed.
FROM YOU TUBE
MARIAH CAREY: All I Want For Christmas Is You
MariahCareyVEVO MariahCareyVEVO:Uploaded on Nov 23, 2009 Mariah Carey's official music video for 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. Click to listen to Mariah Carey and more Christmas songs on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/FiltrXmas
More from Mariah Carey We Belong Together: https://youtu.be/0habxsuXW4g Touch My Body: https://youtu.be/9b8erWuBA44 Angels Cry: https://youtu.be/DyGNfbKkMVE
Follow Mariah Carey Website: http://www.mariahcarey.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariahcarey Twitter: https://twitter.com/MariahCarey Instagram: https://instagram.com/mariahcarey/
Subscribe to Mariah Carey on YouTube: http://smarturl.it/MariahCareySub?IQi...
I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you, yeah.
I don't want a lotfor Christmas
There is just one thing I need
And I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas Day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you You, baby
Oh, I won't ask for much this Christmas
I won't even wish for snow
And I'm just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe
Music "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey (iTunes) Category Music License Standard YouTube License