About Audiophile Neuroscience
by, 06-15-2013 at 03:15 AM (1154 Views)
Apologies for the pompous name but all the good ones have been taken ! It simply refelects my career and longtime interest in things to do with music and perception in an audiophile setting.
My background is that of a medical specialist with training in Neurology, Neuropsychology, Neuropsychiatry, Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine. The latter is an interesting connection because the experience of pain, like music, also involves the somatosensory system as well as cognitive and emotional aspects. Basically the central nervous system inclusive of a mysterious 'black box' called the brain is the most sophisticated 'Signal Processing' suite known.
Sound begins as a physical stimulus, a physical parameter which can be measured and graphed and quantified in analogue or digital format. It is then transduced by the human auditory system and converted to neurological electrical signals. Here it can be subject to modulation, degraded, amplified and otherwise altered. However it doesn't actually become sound, let alone music, until it is registered in the somatosensory cortex of the brain where it is interpreted by the brain in conjunction with multiple other inputs and influences. In other words music is a perceptual experience created in the brain.
Yes the physical stimulus is the beginning of the auditory chain, and where many focus much attention, but it is by no means the end of the story. Measurements of this evoking stimulus are therefore only surrogate values in an attempt to correlate what we measure with what we actually 'hear'.
For anyone interested, in the future, I will expand more on these topics as well as some ramifications for High-End Audio and also some of my personal views about it.