Blasted by sounds

by Vincent Meelberg


Music has the potentiality
to move us, sometimes quite literally so. It incites us to dance, triggers emotions,
or helps us remember. Music simply makes us feel something. Listening to music
is not only a mental activity, but a physical one as well. This is not only
noticeable when one listens to very loud
. Soft music can have
a similar impact as well. Yet, there are people who claim that music does
nothing to them. They believe to be insensitive to the moving powers of music. 

As of today, it might be more
difficult to sustain that claim. Salk Institute scientists have found a way to control the brain
cells of a tiny nematode worm through ultrasound.
No devices needed to be attached to the poor creature; it was all done by
simply blasting ultrasonic waves to the worm. Through these sound bursts the
scientist were able to change the worm’s direction. Neural activity thus was
triggered from a distance, by using sounds that penetrate the worm’s body. The
scientists expect that it will eventually also be possible to do this with
larger animals, including humans. 

The intrusive powers of
music and sound isn’t a recent discovery. Steve Goodman, also known as Kode9, for instance, wrote
an excellent book on sonic warfare. And one only needs
to stand in an elevator and listen to the
music played there
to realize how
intrusive, and nerve wrecking, sound and music can be. The fact, however, that
sound can literally change our physical constitution and manipulate and control
our movements does seem to make the claims regarding the influencing powers of
music on consumers, as articulated by companies such as Mood Media,
much more believable, and a bit scary as well…

Image by via under creative commons.

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