Sting's brain scanned for new study on music

Los Angeles: The brain of musician Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, known professionally by his stage name Sting, has been scanned to see how he analysis music. The 64-year-old met with cognitive psychologist Daniel Levitin in Montreal, where the doctor mapped how Sting's brain organises music, reports "The state-of-the-art techniques really allowed us to make maps of how Sting's brain organises music. That's important because at the heart of great musicianship is the ability to manipulate in one's mind rich representation of the desired soundscape,” said Levitin. Sting reached out to Levitin because he is a fan of his book, “This Is Your Brain on Music”, according to an article released by McGill University. Both functional and structural scans were conducted in one session at the brain imaging unit of McGill's Montreal Neurological Institute. They used a FMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine which measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. Levitin and his colleague Scott Grafton have published their findings in the journal Neurocase. "At the heart of these methods is the ability to test if patterns of brain activity are more alike for two similar styles of music compared to different styles. This approach has never before been considered in brain imaging experiments of music,” Grafton said. The pair is hoping to do similar scans on athletes, writers and painters.