What do color, sound, and patterns all have in common? Sound, color, and even patterns are all something called stimuli. This triggers your brain, and it reacts accordingly. In fact, memory is just stimuli and pieces of moments scattered throughout your brain. Your brain, memory, hearing, and sound are all closely linked as well. As I hope to find out, the lower a frequency, the better it helps you memorize a pattern.
These stimuli influence memories, which is why more emotional memories stay in your head better. My project is looking at which frequencies of sound allow you to memorize patterns better. It was hypothesized that with colors and patterns, your brain and all the processes of memory and hearing will better work together the lower a frequency you are listening to. The brain is more complicated and intriguing than what you might think. In fact, you are only using less than 40 percent of it at any one time (Chase, 2015). The brain and consciousness are also incredibly linked. If one of these shifts, so does the other. Your consciousness is not restricted physically, and is, actually, a non-local field of energy.
Your brain is an organ that interfaces mind with physical reality, or, to put it another way, a translator for physical sensation from your body to your mind, and vice-versa. As Justin Faerman puts it, “Your brain is the primary organ through which consciousness experiences reality.” Your brain’s health and functioning greatly affect your experience and consciousness. For example, if your brain is stressed out or undernourished, you might experience fear, anxiety, and even depression. If the two hemispheres are in sync, however, then your experience with reality is substantially increased (Faerman, 2015). Our minds are a different matter than this concept though. Our minds are built to think creatively and develop skills, as well as continually learn.
As I earlier mentioned, we actually use less than 40 percent of our brain at any given time. For every activity that you engage in, the corresponding “skill” pattern in your mind is connected with specific emotions, movements, and other sensory inputs of your body. Constructing skill patterns is one of the things our brains do best.
Our brains are created in such a way that allows for continuous growth and learning from various direct experiences. In your childhood, your brain made many different and exclusive skill patterns called “behavior episode schemata.” These correspond with intricate schema: social, cultural, and knowledge. As Christopher Chase explains, “Schema are conceptual models our brains construct that represent and organize information about the world.
” For each activity we participate in repeatedly, our brains construct skill patterns. For example, cooking, violin playing, or even problem-solving. Our brains carefully apply this knowledge and the techniques we learn, and repeat the actions again and again until our levels of comprehension develop better than before (Chase, 2015).The brain operates mainly through electrical signals. These tend to be passed between about one hundred billion neurons across different regions. This firing of neurons rapidly creates wave-like rhythms of activation and rest. The rate at which these neurons fire and the synchronicity that happens between firing creates fluctuating wave frequencies, which scientists have mapped and correlated to different states of consciousness.
Alpha waves are eight to twelve hertz. They happen when you are awake, but relaxed. In fact, when you close your eyes, your brain automatically starts creating more alpha waves.
They are actually correlated with a decrease in stress. Beta waves are from twelve to twenty-seven hertz. Most people spend their lives in this state. Delta waves happen when you are in a deep stage of sleep and are 0.2 to three hertz. Your body heals itself during this period.
In contrast, gamma waves are twenty-seven hertz and up. Finally, there is theta waves, from three to eight hertz, and found in deep meditation or light sleep (Faerman, 2015).Pattern recognition is something that, for the most part, happens unconsciously and automatically.
It happens all the time in your brain, and allows you to make decisions, identify stimuli, and essentially survive as a human. However, sometimes our brains find patterns in other things that weren’t meant to have a pattern. This is called apophenia, and explains why you might, for example, look at the clouds and see a giraffe. Pattern recognition is one of the most crucial cognitive skills, and is critical for survival and evolution.
Pattern recognition also matches information previously retrieved from stimuli (Hillman, 2016). One of the most fundamental processes of your brain is memory. Memory has three main processes: encoding, storage, and recall, also called retrieval. There is also consolidation, which some people consider as part of encoding or storage. Acoustic encoding is another process.
Using it, you can encode sound and auditory input. Visual encoding is the processing of visual sensory input such as images (Mastin, 2010). First, replying to external stimuli, a memory trace or engram is made. Engrams are changes in the neurons of your brain. These changes are usually biophysical or biochemical. The new engrams are then encoded into short-term memory, after their super short stay in sensory memory. Next in the encoding process, is the transformation to long-term memory, using a process called memory consolidation.
This process stabilizes a memory trace after the original attainment. The more experiences, the more pathways the brain creates, connecting certain neurons and “rewiring” itself. Like water, the more specific neural networks are traversed, the more the pattern is engraved and the more chance that it will be traversed in the future. It essentially becomes a path of least resistance. In the end, encoding is simply sensations that are encoded in assorted sensory areas of the cortex. Later, in the hippocampus, they are combined into an experience (Mastin, 2010). After consolidation, “long-term memories are stored throughout the brain as groups of neurons that are primed to fire together in the same pattern that created the original experience.” This is stated by Scott Mastin, in Memory Processes.
A memory may even be encoded multiple times, so that if an engram is “erased”, there may be alternate paths through which the memory can be retrieved. Memory storage is, in fact, a continuous process of reclassification and changes in neural pathways. The different stages of memory: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory act as a sort of filter for all the everyday information our brain picks up in our daily activities.
This way, we only store what’s important (Mastin, 2010).Since memories are stored and encoded in the brain in pieces connected with neural pathways, memory recall is essentially an on-the-go reconstruction of all of the components of a memory scattered throughout the areas of a brain. Recall returns a memory in what could be described as a mirror image of the encoding process, from long term to short term or from short term to working memory, where it’s accessed. This re-accessing of memories or events that were already encoded and stored in your brain is often referred to as remembering (Mastin, 2010).
According to Dzulkifli and Mustafar, “Colour is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings.” It has a significant role in enhancing memory and is a powerful and effective information channel for the cognitive system (Dzulkifli & Mustafar, 2013). Attention is very crucial as well. One type, called selective attention, is “The ability to focus our cognitive resources on information relevant to our goals.” Top-down modulation controls our ability to concentrate our attention on the task at hand, and excludes any distractions that may be irrelevant to us. This is entwined with working memory, which, new studies are showing, overlaps quite a bit with selective attention (Gazzaley, 2012). Attention is the cognitive process of determining attainable information in the environment around you.
The amount of attention given to certain stimuli increases the probability of the information or memory being stored in memory. Information we pay the most attention to, or find the most interesting is likely to be remembered better. It is important for stimuli such as color or sound in the environment so that it has the potential of activating attention (Dzulkifli & Mustafar, 2013).”Vibrating objects create waves of energy that change the pressure of the surrounding air. These pressure changes are picked up by the human ear and interpreted by our brains as sound.” (Blankenburg, 2017) These waves of energy create alternating currents and shifts in air pressure, positive and negative. The oscillations, or fluctuations, are measured in hertz and decibels. The average human is able to hear sounds at zero decibels (Blankenburg, 2017), and twenty to 20,000 hertz (About, 2015).
The frequency of the oscillations are called hertz, and are measured in waves per second. However, the vibrational energy changes air pressure. These changes are called decibels, and measures how loud or quiet something is (Blankenburg, 2017). To hear these sounds, there is a complex set of steps that converts the sound waves into electrical signals. The auditory nerve transports these signals to the brain. Sound waves enter the outer ear, and make their way down the ear canal, which is a narrow passageway that leads to the eardrum.
The eardrum consequently vibrates from these waves, sending the vibrations to the malleus, incus, and stapes. These three tiny bones in the middle of the ear amplify the sound, then send them to the cochlea. The cochlea is a snail-shaped structure filled with fluid. Hair cells along the basilar membrane detect high and low-pitched sounds. Once you lose these hairs, called stereocilia, however, you never get them back. The stereocilia open up at the tips and allow chemicals to stream into the cells, creating an electrical signal that our brain can understand. The cochlea is essentially taking physical sound waves and digitizing them (How, 2015).
All in all, memory, hearing, sound, stimuli, and attention are all interpreted by and influence the brain. Lower frequencies help you memorize a pattern better. Using selective attention, one would be able to block distractions such as sound out easier, and working memory would allow you to use stimuli such as color, in patterns, to focus. My project focuses on such stimuli as sound and color. I am investigating what happens when you mix patterns with sound in your brain.
From this information, I have concluded that, through all the processes of memory and the long process of hearing, when distracted by colors and patterns, a person should be able to focus the best, and be able to ignore a low-frequency sound.