Brain and Music Recognition
Does anything different happen in the brain when it hears familiar versus unfamiliar music?
Good question. A study showed a couple of things show that the brain has recognized a piece of familiar music. According to the abstract, researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) and pupillometry to reveal the temporal signatures of the brain processes that allow differentiation between a familiar, well liked, and an unfamiliar piece of music. Professor Chait pointed out that the eye pupil dilated within 100-300 milliseconds after the start of a song if the subject recognized a familiar song; and a burst of electrical activity in the brain occurred around 500-800 milliseconds after the start of the song. These effects do not occur when the brain does not recognize familiar music. So, yes, something different does happen in the brain when it recognizes familiar music--especially when it likes the music!