From rhythms in the brain to the music of the mind

Brain
Tuesday 28 Febuary 2012

Inaugural lecture by Professor Adrian Burgess

In the popular imagination, occasional moments of insight or inspiration are referred to as ‘brainwaves’. This phrase suggests that brainwaves are sporadic visitors to an otherwise placid cortex when, in fact, oscillations in the electrical activity of the brain are perpetual and ubiquitous.  But, even if the popular concept of the brainwave is not well founded, the broader idea linking electrical rhythms in the brain to psychological states is much better established. Our daily transition from dreamless sleep to waking, for example, and even our incursions into dreams are clearly marked by changes in the rhythms of our brains. Indeed, it seems that every small change in the psychological state of the waking mind is accompanied by a concurrent change in the electrical activity of the brain. If only we could break the code, the rhythms of the brain could open up for us an unparalleled window on the mind. So far, it is a code that has defied decipherment but glimpses of the key are slowly being revealed. In this lecture, I intend to show how these small glimpses are beginning to teach us how to listen to the rhythms of the brain and to show us what we must do to learn to eavesdrop on the music of the mind.

Sumpner Lecture Theatre (Formerly the Warwick Lecture Theatre), Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET. 6.30pm start, tea and coffee from 6.00pm. A buffet will follow the lecture.

This lecture is free to attend and open to all. To book a seat please email events@aston.ac.uk or for further information please contact Claire Hopkins on 0121 204 4542.