Listen To A Philosopher’s Brain Waves Turned Into Music


According to professor of philosophy Dan Lloyd, "brain dynamics resemble the dynamics of music.” With science's increased ability to examine the the functions of the brain, Lloyd has decided to translate the activity inside the mind into pieces of music – and the results are intriguing. Taking fellow philosopher Dan Dennett as a test subject, Lloyd has set out to show how “everything that goes on in the brain can be interpreted as having musical form.” The music creeated is a series of ambient drifts as pleasing as anything on Eno's Music for Airports  – here's the details on how the track was created;

The data were preprocessed via Independent Component Analysis, separating ten temporally coherent networks, that is, regions of the brain that activate/deactivate together. In the movie the ten networks are rendered as ten bands of varying intensity over time. As activity in a network increases the brain areas depicted brighten. At the same time, each of the ten components is assigned a musical tone. The loudness of the tone also varies with component intensity. This plays in real time. Images taken every .475 seconds were smoothed into the movie you see. Does Dennett's brain really move with such elegiac slowness? No. fMRI images, and cerebral blood flow, blur the staccato activity of billions of neurons into the waves of sound you hear.

You can read more of Dan Lloyd's writing on the project on the Trinity College website