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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Hi dudes, Happy new year!  :  )
Another article on the same research in today (below). It's apparent that there is the usual mainstream confusion between 'reward systems' and 'desire systems' in these interpretations. It could be argued that desire IS a reward (for viewing good desirable input)but desire-reward is another example of stretch-relax. My own experience of enjoying music is that it can excite OR relax, so I expect that sometime soon someone's research will notice serotonin pathways are equally involved as dopamine pathways in music appreciation.

Lack of joy from music linked to brain disconnection
January 4, 2017 in Medicine & Health / Neuroscience

Using the fMRI data, the researchers found that while listening to music, specific musical anhedonics presented a reduction in the activity of the Nucleus Accumbens, a key subcortical structure of the reward network.

Have you ever met someone who just wasn't into music? They may have a condition called specific musical anhedonia, which affects three-to-five per cent of the population.
Researchers at the University of Barcelona and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University have discovered that people with this condition showed reduced functional connectivity between cortical regions responsible for processing sound and subcortical regions related to reward.

To understand the origins of specific musical anhedonia, researchers recruited 45 healthy participants who completed a questionnaire measuring their level of sensitivity to music and divided them into three groups of sensitivity based on their responses. The test subjects then listened to music excerpts inside an fMRI machine while providing pleasure ratings in real-time. To control for their brain response to other reward types, participants also played a monetary gambling task in which they could win or lose real money.

Using the fMRI data, the researchers found that while listening to music, specific musical anhedonics presented a reduction in the activity of the Nucleus Accumbens, a key subcortical structure of the reward network. The reduction was not related to a general improper functioning of the Nucleus Accumbens itself, since this region was activated when they won money in the gambling task.

Specific musical anhedonics, however, did show reduced functional connectivity between cortical regions associated with auditory processing and the Nucleus Accumbens. In contrast, individuals with high sensitivity to music showed enhanced connectivity.

The fact that subjects could be insensible to music while still responsive to another stimulus like money suggests different pathways to reward for different stimuli. This finding may pave the way for the detailed study of the neural substrates underlying other domain-specific anhedonias and, from an evolutionary perspective, help us to understand how music acquired reward value.

Lack of brain connectivity has been shown to be responsible for other deficits in cognitive ability. Studies of children with autism spectrum disorder, for example, have shown that their inability to experience the human voice as pleasurable may be explained by a reduced coupling between the bilateral posterior superior temporal sulcus and distributed nodes of the reward system, including the Nucleus Accumbens. This latest research reinforces the importance of neural connectivity in the reward response of human beings.

"These findings not only help us to understand individual variability in the way the reward system functions, but also can be applied to the development of therapies for treatment of reward-related disorders, including apathy, depression, and addiction," says Robert Zatorre, an MNI neuroscientist and one of the paper's co-authors.

This study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept. 27, 2016.
More information: Noelia Martínez-Molina et al, Neural correlates of specific musical anhedonia, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1611211113 

Provided by McGill University
"Lack of joy from music linked to brain disconnection" January 4, 2017 http://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-01-lack-joy-music-linked-brain.html

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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Yay!, Happy randomly selected point on the cosmic plane that we are crossing once again, marking another full orbit of our planet around our Sun! 
Any excuse for a party is a good excuse, eh? big_smile

Timely article, and serendipitous too.  I was just listening to a podcast interview with the above mentioned Robert Zatorre last week.
http://media.blubrry.com/smartdrugsmart … SDS159.mp3
I found it good at explaining some things, and Zatorre had some interesting analogies and ideas.
One that I found particularly intriguing was that maybe music appreciation did not in itself evolve per se, but rather emerged as an ability from other abilities that evolved for other reasons.  He likens it to the ability of man to make and/or use fire.  We didn’t evolve this ability, we evolved other simpler abilities that  allowed us the further ability to make/use fire.  In NHA vernacular, fire use became part of our culture.   Music appreciation maybe did not evolve, but timing, rhythm, hearing, sound differentiation, anticipation, prediction etc. all did. From there the ability of music appreciation emerged as a form of tool use, and therefore becomes part of our culture.   He goes on to say that he believes music is rewarding to people due to the anticipation/prediction/satisfaction cycle of being correct on what sounds are coming next in complex audio patterns.  Starting with children listening to simple song patterns over and over, which become boring to adults who find them too simple, and as the ability to predict what ‘sounds nice/ what must come next’ increases in complexity so does the appreciation. This increases until the complexity is too much for the persons present ability and it begins to sound like cacophony. (wrong input)  This sounds very similar to the idea of the entire stretch-relax cycle, and staying within the zone.  It’s about 1 hour long, but doesn’t start into the interview until the 10min mark.  Note. it is actually two concurrent interviews, one with Robert Zatorre, and one with Dr. Assal Habibi from the University of Southern California. So if you skip the first 10 min you might be confused as to why the interviewee’s voice keeps changing. 

I find this abstract
Lack of joy from music linked to brain disconnection  January 4, 2017 in Medicine & Health / Neuroscience

clearer that the past two.  I’m struggling trying to understand what they were getting at when talking about connections between areas “responsible for processing music and those responsible for generating a response”  or  “have less connectivity between the regions in the brain responsible for processing sounds and those involved in managing emotions”
The model as I understand it is that we perceive sounds, and these sounds are compared to concepts we already have stored in our memories. These memories are recalled/remembered, and as the original memories are already weighted with emotion we re-experience that state.  The memory (now in N3) is re-weighted based on present (possibly modified) emotional state and stored again with the new weighting. This is the same process for all types of inputs.  SO, if it’s the same machinery, we use the same screen to display sights and sounds, and everything else....  then where is this independent connection for  ‘music direct to emotional processing’ supposed to reside?  This article talks about connections to the reward circuitry instead, but still doesn’t align with my present understanding, just moves these 'separate connections' elsewhere.   Where am I going off the rails here?

Another note, request for input.
In investigating the tACS route, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26254878)
I’ve tried to discover where and why this 34hz to the DLPCF might improve pitch memory.  I’ve come across a study by Li-Huei Tsai, Professor of Neuroscience, director of MIT’s Picower Institute. http://www.nature.com/articles/nature20 … ardian.com
In the study, they have managed to reduce the levels of beta amyloid proteins in the hippocampus of (Alzheimer’s)  rats by 40-50%  by stimulating gamma oscillations at 40 hertz. (People with Alzheimer’s are known to be deficient in Gamma brainwaves)
I find this a very interesting correlation with two separate Gamma brainwave stimulation effects on the brain.
Thoughts anyone?

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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Hi dude,
Long mail, get coffee  :  )

Re: http://www.brams.umontreal.ca/onlinetest/
...Breaks my security rules. -Why do researchers need to know anyone's name?

Re: “my concern would be possibly creating incongruous artificial associations.”
...A very important point missed by most. We do need a coherent model of what healthy associations ARE before attempting to program them in!

Re: evolutionary biology & music
...I feel there are some obvious examples of necessity being the motherfucker of invention... when you hum to baby humans, they fall asleep... the noises we make when emotional affect other humans...drums can be used for morse code, everybody can hear a warning foghorn...
but my own experience of music appreciation was a lot more visceral than most people's seem to be. I first began to like music because some of it went at the same speed as my heartbeat and it was fun to move in time to it. I quickly discovered my heartbeat changed as the music changed, and then played all those kids games (like trying to hum at a frequency that would make my own teeth vibrate, doing the hands on-hands off thing over your ears when there's a constant noise so you get a 'phase' effect, wobbling fingers over my lips to make that 'leh-ther' noise, trying to hold a note despite being jogged up and down in a vehicle, trying to whistle and hum at the same time (sounds like a steam train whistle), humming 'dee-dah' whilst gargling (sounds like a drowning ambulance) and all that. Just playing with noise  :  )

I have a lot of thoughts on this topic and a lot of questions. This mail is a sort of conglomerate of them. I notice there is no clear definition for 'music' in any of this research, and it may be the wrong questions are being asked. Are we framing 'music' as 'tuneful sound' and if so, tuneful to whom? Are song lyrics (a BIG reason for my love of songs) poetry or music? Is birdsong music? Which birds 'sing' and which birds make a raucous racket? What is music to one is raucous sound to another?

What we are calling 'music' in real life is often a mixture of sounds/association plus word/association plus watching the video imagery/association plus motion/association. Science needs universals, or we don't know what we are studying. Has anyone started with plain sine waves and neuroimaging? The final studies you mention seem to be going along these lines. If we find a set of frequencies or sequences that prompt universal involuntary hormone release, then we've got some facts. The gamma wave studies hold promise, because gamma is a coordinating frequency that occurs during CPU interchange for learning & adaptation.

There are one or two things that have emerged from experience; heartbeats increase when the tempo does and decrease when it decreases, http://www.emerginginvestigators.org/20 … eart-rate/  loud music makes WEIRD people more thirsty https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 … 180723.htm  and makes alcohol taste sweeter http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/12december/ … eeter.aspx and country & western music is associated with depression http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2007/12/ … d-suicide/ and playing music (rather than just listening) improves brain function https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/th … n-function  -but again, these are all WEIRD studies.

How important is embodiment and prenatal priming? Do some people automatically move in time to music because their pregnant moms were good dancers? Is music with your eyes closed having a different effect than with them open? Is the 'pleasure' hormone release triggered by our responsive movement, or the sound? Both?  :  )

I'm probably not a reliable source for ordinary musical experience because I grew up with music all around me and my first career was music! So I'm not going to respond to it as non-musicians do, even though I rarely play these days.

I hope these brain droppings are helpful. If you have time to explore this, do share results!

Weirdly, there's a plant that moves in response to music; Codariocalyx motorius (or Desmodium gyrans). It prefers high, soft notes. The video is not timelapse; this is motion in real time.

Re:  Any excuse for a party is a good excuse?
...Chaotic Systems Parties are the most creative excuse I've heard. Like, you don't know whose birthday it actually IS, but you can always be certain it's somebody's.

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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

thx for the droppings, a quick note.

Alex wrote:

Re: http://www.brams.umontreal.ca/onlinetest/
...Breaks my security rules. -Why do researchers need to know anyone's name?
yes, mine too. 
Fortunately my good friends  Dwayne Dibbly and Zaphod Beeblebrox had no concerns signing up.

Another friend of mine took the test as well.  He has what I consider a very high level of music appreciation,  and scored lower than I did on the timing portion of the test.
He mentioned that while listening to many of the melodies, they had dropped or shortened notes in places but in his opinion sounded just fine, so did not count them as errors. He's a jazz fan, and I guess this is a common technique. 
  So, I suspect there may be a U shaped response curve to this test.

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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Not sure the right place to post:

  Reminds me of Rambo, able to provoke the rise[1] of an entire army, must, indeed, be one serious mofo! Although it does reflect the state of the world when this is the only thing to which one gives the slightest Fu**. ^_^ But I guess that's what passes for 'the Gothic view' around here* so I won't even mention Freud's Thanathos principle and what might happen when the only Eros 'damming' (or would it be 'damning'?) it from aforementioned world was to, somehow, vanish.

  But wasn't the theme of the place to "keep core conditions" (are we in the bay now?) through, among others, the use of more "benign" terms? You know.. the appropriation and usurpation of other's ontology (hey, Freud was not so bad?) for, among others, lure in.. "love".

Indeed, quite "inventive".

Although I guess MoLo doesn't quite have the ring to satisfy the all too human need for scorn?[2]

Yes, I admit, it's Q.uaint[3] but this only reinforces something I mentioned to Alex long ago: I guess I better wait for a future generation, however many more castles of sand I'd have to appreciate being washed away.

But we digress. I'm posting this because it seems there is a set of hypothesis you may be failing to consider. Here's a few:

1) Star Trek, the original series, Ep 3 was quite enlightening;
2) that Jurassic Park T-Rex scene [4] (what happened to the no utube rule, Alex?**);
3) Sheer bitterness (or would it be Cheer jitteriness?);
4) albeit a bit it seems too sophisticated (sry, yet another tongue tangler), the quest for an example from the, supposedly, best minds of our time on whether there was much hope for a way out of the retaliation, war, waste cycle. Maybe robert remembers, alex had a little snapback in the mailing list but still the best example I could find. So, is humanity inexorably on the way to self destruction then?

of course, there is always the possibility of suicidal behavior. Not so much the proposed 'masochistic' kind but more on the lemming side (tho I'm told they don't actually do that, perhaps another example of dysfunctional portrayal of nature, as in "alpha males" and the like? any thoughts?)

Anyways, thanks for all the fish, I hope I contributed even a small fraction (despite the spines) and yea, GG![5] ; )

I'll retire myself to my mediocrity now.

Subtly or unsubtly,
Happy Equinos.

* I'd posit the atoms themselves are OK for sure, those F orbitals quite beautiful even, the silliness they DO, on the other hand, there is the rub.

** saw this quote recently, may be relevant: "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power".

[1] 40 K ft must be the most epic in history: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.p … id=3931152
[2] one's brain doesn't has to enjoy every 'music': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IKudKZ5L6s
[3] Star Trek TNG, s606 -- True Q (about midway through)
[4] https://youtu.be/v5Co3A3fLBo?t=1m28s
[5] Babylon 5 s3e3

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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

This just in:

Ben Henry delves into the still-unanswered questions of where our musical preferences come from and what makes synesthetes tick.

By Ben Andrew Henry | March 21, 2017


Ben Henry: You’re listening to Consilience, a podcast from The Scientist magazine. This month, we’re bringing you stories about music and the brain. I’m Ben Henry.

Our first story is about why we like the music that we like. To help me untangle the research on this topic, I’m talking with Diana Kwon, a staff writer for The Scientist magazine. Diana, thanks for talking with me.

Diana Kwon: Thanks for having me.

BH: So, you wrote a piece in the March issue of The Scientist called “Musical Tastes: Nature or Nurture.” That story starts in the late nineteen nineties, with a study by two Harvard psychologists, Marcel Zentner and Jerome Kagan, who wanted to know whether four-month old infants preferred consonant musical chords over dissonant ones.

DK: From my understanding it’s the first time somebody actually sat down and said: Okay, let’s take some babies and see what type of music they like.

BH: What they would do is sit a baby down in front of a speaker. They played each kid two versions of a melody. One version contained consonant chords, a combination of notes that just sound nice together [C major plays]. The other version had slightly different chords that sound a little bit grating [C diminished plays]—dissonant chords.

Zentner and Kagan found that these very young children didn’t appear to like the dissonant music: they were fidgety, they wouldn’t look right at the speaker, they would cry. But when the consonant music played, they were much more likely to just sit contentedly and listen.

DK: And since then, researchers have done a bunch of other studies on kids who are even younger, and even in animals like chimps and baby chickens, and have found similar things. There’s just been increasing evidence building that maybe there’s some sort of preference at an early age.

BH: We think of our musical preferences as being highly personal and subjective. But maybe, some part of it is actually biologically hardwired in us.

Diana spoke to Josh McDermott, who studies this idea at MIT. Here’s a piece of that interview. He’s explaining another reason why we might have an ingrained preference for certain intervals, that is, combinations of notes.

Josh McDermott: I think it comes down to the fact that the particular intervals that are used in Western music, and arguably in music cross-culturally, are not random. The intervals that are most common, or most important, in Western music are typically defined by ratios between the pitches that are simple integer ratios, or approximately so.

So they’re not random, and so that seems to indicate, well, there’s got to be some force that’s responsible for the fact they’re not random. And so one possible force is that there’s an intrinsic aesthetic difference between different musical intervals, so people end up using the ones that are more pleasing.

BH: The problem with this argument, that there’s something inherently nice about certain combinations of notes, is that almost all of the studies supporting this idea took place in Western cultures, where we share a musical heritage. From classical music hundreds of years ago to radio hits today, we rely heavily on consonant chords and avoid dissonant ones.

So, maybe we’re just biased, and the infants in those studies absorbed just enough Western music to show that bias.

To get around that problem, McDermott joined a group of anthropologists and other scientists studying a group of people who don’t listen to Western music—or for that matter, any music other than their own.

The Tsimane’ live in a vast, remote swath of the Bolivian Amazon. They’re mostly isolated from surrounding cultures. McDermott and his colleagues wanted to know if they had the same aversion to dissonance that we do. Here’s McDermott again.

JM: The first part of the trip that summer, we did a bunch of recording sessions with the Tsimane’ musicians, so that was pretty fun and quite interesting. So we set up a little recording studio as best we could in this one building in this town. A few weeks before we arrived, we arranged for there to be a big announcement broadcast that we were looking for musicians. They just started showing up—some of them had traveled days basically to come hang out and play music.

BH: The music the Tsimane’ played for them sounded fabulously unlike anything you would hear on the radio.

So McDermott’s team had this unique opportunity to study people whose musical experience was completely different from those of us raised in Europe or North America. Diana can explain the experiments they did.

DK: What they would do is—kind of like what the researchers would do back in the nineties—they would play clips of music, and because they were adults they were able to just ask them whether they preferred one piece of music to another. Another important thing they needed to do was figure out whether this group of people could tell the difference between these two different types of tones.

BH: McDermott and his colleagues found that the Tsimane’ were perfectly able to tell the difference between consonant and dissonant sounds. But when they were asked to rate those clips of music on a scale according to how much they enjoyed it, they gave consonant and dissonant music the same ratings.

Unlike Westerners, the Tsimane’ didn’t have an ingrained distaste for dissonance. But the story is complicated, McDermott says.

JM: One cautionary note I would provide is that most people, myself included, would shy away from these black and white distinctions between being innate and learned. A lot of people would say nothing is completely innate . . . and in my mind, there’s a real vacuum in terms of having good experiments in pretty remote cultures.

BH: Even if we’re all born with a preference for consonance, the Tsimane are evidence that it can be overruled by culture. If there is something truly universal about musical tastes, we haven’t found it yet.

LJ Rich: I never listen to music voluntarily. I hear music everywhere, whether I like it or not. You see, I have this strange mixing of the senses called synesthesia.

BH: Synesthesia. That’s the subject of our next story about music and the brain. This is technology journalist and composer LJ Rich giving a TED Talk in 2014.

LJR: When I see, touch, or taste things, I hear sound. And when I hear sound, I hear music—My brain generates music. It’s really useful when I’m doing classical composing. However, it does mean that, in my other, day job as a TV reporter for BBC Click, the technology show, it can get a little overwhelming. I get distracted by reality.

BH: At this point, Rich walks over to a keyboard on the stage.

LJR: I’m going to let you into a secret, and explain why I’m so distracted. Going around a building, or going around a city, I kind of hear this. These are the cars. The buildings are kind of like this, and the people are kind of like this.

BH: There’s something else going on here. LJ Rich is not only a synesthete, she also has absolute pitch, meaning she can identify or play any given musical note by ear, without any sort of reference. Between these two gifts, her whole world is music.

LJR: It’s so overwhelming, that the way that I deal with it is by harmonizing with it. I make noises, I sing along, I probably look a little crazy when I do it. But it turns that noise into music.

BH: It seems like a total coincidence that Rich has both synesthesia AND perfect pitch—But it’s not. I’m talking with Catherine Offord, who wrote about this in the March issue of The Scientist. Hi Catherine, thanks for talking.

Catherine Offord: Thank you very much for having me.

BH: You spoke to LJ Rich about what her world is like and also about the neuroscience behind it. Before we even get into that, it’s just so hard for me to even imagine what living inside of her head feels like.

CO: Yeah, and it’s something she’s aware of as well. She was telling me that it’s difficult to have conversations with people because you want to use words like delicious, or tasty, to describe sounds. To somebody who doesn’t have synesthesia, that just sounds like you’ve made a bit of a slip-up.

BH: Can you just summarize, in general, what synesthesia is?

CO: Synesthesia is the linking of different senses when you get one stimulus. So for example, you have a taste, and that’s associated with a sound, or you see a word, and that’s associated with a color. So it’s basically crossing over these different sensory inputs.

BH: From your reporting, it sounds like there’s a lot more going on here. What have you learned?

CO: So, first of all, I wanted to chat with some people at the Feinstein Institute. They’d been conducting a study a few years ago where they managed to find all these people—hundreds of people—with absolute pitch. And they’d given them a few surveys to find what other kind of experiences they might be having. They discovered that around 20 percent also had synesthesia.

BH: Twenty percent—that’s not necessarily true of all people with absolute pitch; this was just one study after all—but it’s still a huge proportion, considering that synesthesia is relatively rare in the general population.

CO: That kind of led them to look at this overlap, between absolute pitch and synesthesia.

BH: That’s where LJ Rich comes in—she’s part of this overlap.

Another team of researchers, led by Psyche Loui of Wesleyan University, used MRI machines to compare the neural activity of people with synesthesia and people with absolute pitch.

CO: They were finding, first of all, that the neural activity was kind of unusual in both groups. So both had this heightened neural activity known to be involved in processing music. But in the people with absolute pitch, there was more activity on one side, and in synesthesia, there was more activity on the other side. And so they had this little phrase that they coined in the title of their paper, which was that maybe these things are just two sides of the same coin.

BH: On one side of the coin: the ability to perfectly, and consistently identify any musical note, just by hearing it. On the other side: a world of bright sounds and loud shapes.

The two seem to have nothing to do with each other. But there’s a theory out there, that all of this has to do with a neurological concept called hyperconnectivity.

One of the ways that researchers can quantify what the brain is doing is to track the connections between different parts of the brain. A neurological roadmap keeps all of the separate parts connected to each other. But researchers have noticed, some people have more roads on their maps than others. When one part of their brain is active, it’s more likely to cause some other part of their brain to be active, sometimes parts that would normally be resting. That’s hyperconnectivity.

The concept shows up in a lot of different types of research. For example, studies have suggested that hyperconnectivity might explain some cases of depression. They’ve linked it to autism, and even schizophrenia.

Those brain scans of people with perfect pitch or synesthesia turned up a similar suggestion.

CO: Perhaps, heightened connectivity is partly leading to these extra modes of perception, like absolute pitch, or synesthesia, or extreme creativity, or things like that.

BH: It’s still a hypothesis, but maybe studying the brain’s connections could help us understand incredible gifts as well as disease. There’s another application to this field of research.

CO: Although this isn’t a disease—it’s not as though absolute pitch or synesthesia can be thought of as a disease model—it is a really great model for the interaction between genes and the environment. Because there is evidence that suggests that things like absolute pitch and synesthesia don’t necessarily come about just because of your genetics. So, it seems there are things early in life or during development that can make it more or less likely that someone will develop synesthesia and absolute pitch. And so they think it’s a really good model to use to study those overlaps.

BH: For now, the mind of LJ Rich is mostly a mystery.

Before we end the episode, we have one more interesting tidbit about the brain. I heard about this from Bob Grant, a senior editor at The Scientist. Here’s our conversation.

So, you were telling me that you were reporting a story about bats, but you had sort of inadvertently uncovered some surprising information about birds. So, what did you learn?

BG: Yeah, so I was talking to a guy at Texas A&M named Mike Smotherman who has studied bat song for quite a while, and now he’s transitioned and out of that. So I was kind of just talking with him about research, current research that’s uncovering some similarities between the neural substrates that drive bird song and bat song. There’s a couple different instances where some of the same brain regions give rise to the vocalizations, et cetera, et cetera.

What he told me was—and he said it in kind of a matter of fact way: You know how song birds regrow a part of their brain during the spring so that they can sing their mating songs, and then that part dies back, and then regrows again the next spring when they need to sing again? And I was like—wow—I didn’t know that.

BH: Out of curiosity, Bob looked into why a bird might lose and then regrow a part of its brain every year.

BG: Brains are very energetically expensive things. To run a brain, to maintain a brain, takes a lot of energy. A lot of the energy that human beings for example consume goes to the maintenance and running of our brains. So it makes sense, from an evolutionary perspective in these birds, that when it’s essential that they display this behavior, for the furtherance of their species and their population, that they grow that brain center to produce these songs.       

It’s interesting in and of itself, but it also was one of the first insight into neurogenesis in vertebrates that made people think—oh, wait a second, this old dogma where you’re born with the neurons you have, especially in the brain, and if you lose ‘em you lose ‘em. That dogma has changed over the past few years, to where people realize that neurogenesis is a real thing that happens in vertebrates and mammals, and humans even.

BH: So there you have it. We shut off the heat when we go on vacation, and some birds lose a part of their brain when they don’t need it.

That’s it for Consilience this month, the show is written, produced, and edited by me, Ben Henry, with help from Kerry Grens, Bob Grant, and Jef Akst. We’ll be back in April.
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles. … i=49024314

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