Sound is one of the most primordial stimuli and responses known to human or animal. It is evocative, articulates emotions and feelings even in pre-linguistic and unintelligible ways.We can respond to a baby’s cry, an animal’s screech, the crash of thunder or an exclamation of pain or joy appropriately without understanding the context or circumstances.
As humans, we can respond to chords played on an instrument, vocalisations or merely a raw tone played at a sustained frequency in ways that bely our cognitive understanding of the emotions and brainwave states they can evoke.
David W Rainey and Janet D Larsen, in their paper “The effect of familiar melodies on initial learning and long-term memory for unconnected text”, tested the hypothesis that music, in the form of a familiar melody, can serve as an effective mnemonic device. Prior research has provided very little support for this commonly held belief. In both studies, participants learned a list of names that they heard either spoken or sung to a familiar tune. In Experiment 1, the melody was “Pop Goes the Weasel”; in Experiment 2, the melody was “Yankee Doodle.” We measured the number of trials to learn the list initially and the number of trials to relearn the list a week later. In both studies, there was no advantage in initial learning for those who learned the names to the musical accompaniment. However, in both studies, participants who heard the sung version required fewer trials to relearn the list of names a week later than did participants who heard the spoken version.
They were able to demonstrate long-term learning and retention employing music and sound as an auditory entrainment method for regulating stress responses. We can use music and sound to achieve more relaxed and better adjusted states.
A Mofredj, et al, demonstrated in “Music therapy, a review of the potential therapeutic benefits for the critically ill” that music was able to reduce stress and anxiety in critically ill patients undergoing invasive therapy.
Intensive care units are a stressful milieu for patients, particularly when under mechanical ventilation which they refer to as inhumane and anxiety producing. Anxiety can impose harmful effects on the course of recovery and overall well-being of the patient. Resulting adverse effects may prolong weaning and recovery time. Music listening, widely used for stress release in all areas of medicine, tends to be a reliable and efficacious treatment for those critically ill patients. It can abate the stress response, decrease anxiety during mechanical ventilation, and induce an overall relaxation response without the use of medication. This relaxation response can lower cardiac workload and oxygen consumption resulting in more effective ventilation. Music may also improve sleep quality and reduce patient’s pain with a subsequent decrease in sedative exposure leading to an accelerated ventilator weaning process and a speedier recovery.
The physical state change, and accompanying relaxation and improved pain response are clear indications that sound and music can have profound effects on our mental and physical condition.
In Kari Suzanne Kraus and Barbara Canlons research study, “Neuronal connectivity and interactions between the auditory and limbic systems, effects of noise and tinnitus” they note that:
“Acoustic experience such as sound, noise, or absence of sound induces structural or functional changes in the central auditory system but can also affect limbic regions such as the amygdala and hippocampus. The amygdala is particularly sensitive to sound with valence or meaning, such as vocalizations, crying or music. The amygdala plays a central role in auditory fear conditioning, regulation of the acoustic startle response and can modulate auditory cortex plasticity. A stressful acoustic stimulus, such as noise, causes amygdala-mediated release of stress hormones via the HPA-axis, which may have negative effects on health, as well as on the central nervous system.
It is clear from these studies and through our general, intuitive acceptance of the effect of music on humans (and animals) that sound has a general and profoundly physiological effect on the human brain.
It is with this understanding that Synctuition has created it’s state of the art programs utilizing the best of breed technology to create its sound programs. Combining knowledge and data on the effect that sound can have on brainwaves, and understanding that prelinguistic sounds and frequencies can achieve certain results and responses from humans, these programs manipulate sound to achieve positive mental states.
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