Music festival visitors learn unexpected medical skills
VISITORS to the music festival at Plymouth University learned some unexpected medical skills.
At a session on music and the brain they learned to diagnose schizophrenia – using only sounds associated with brain scans.
The latest in the university's CogTalk series focused on music and the brain, as part of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
Professor Dan Lloyds and Dr Alexis Kirke considered whether music might be the next frontier of neuroscience research.
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Prof Lloyds, from Trinity College, Connecticut, played recordings of brain scans that had been assigned musical notes.
After just two minutes of training, about three quarters of the audience were able to tell the difference between people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and "normal" brains.
Dr Alexis Kirke, of Plymouth University, told the audience at Peninsula Arts that giving machines the ability to "feel" emotion – through musical programming – would benefit their human masters.
"Music is the language of emotion," he said, and using a simple music processing system was now an important tool in artificial intelligence and computing.
Dr Alexis Kirke is research fellow at Plymouth University. His ground-breaking sound-wave performance stole the show at the opening of the new Marine Science building on North Cross last autumn.
At the weekend his pioneering movie "Many Worlds" was premiered at the university's Roland Levinsky building. During the film members of the audience are wired up, and their reactions influence the course of the film.
In next month's CogTalk, Prof Tim Perfect and Dr Chris Longmore will explore the science behind our ability to recognise faces and whether our memory is really as good as we think it is.
The discussion will be in the Lower Lecture Theatre, Sherwell Centre, at 6pm on Wednesday, March 20.
Admission is free but booking is essential by calling 01752 585050 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.