How brain helps you remember tune if not song

News Bharati English    30-May-2014

New York, May 30: Know why you can't remember your favourite song but can hum its tune well? A part of your brain helps you recognise music even if you have forgotten the lyrics.

“The brain's left temporal lobe is a convergence zone that is not devoted to a single stimulus modality. The area is an important region for remembering names, important landmarks and melodies,” explained Amy Belfi, a graduate student in neuroscience at University of Iowa.

For the study, researchers took 30 participants.


The participants were further divided into 10 patients with left temporal lobe (LTP) damage, 10 brain damaged comparison patients and 10 participants with no brain damage.

The task included listening to 52 famous melodies - some with and some without lyrics - ranging from 8-15 seconds in duration.

After hearing each melody, participants were asked to rate their familiarity with the melody and identify it by name.

While faces and landmarks are visual stimuli, musical melodies are auditory.

Overall, LTP patients named approximately 50 percent of the melodies correctly, while other participants correctly named approximately 80 percent of the melodies, the study noted.

“LTP patients would recite the lyrics of the song but had no idea the name of the song,” Belfi added.

The study was published in the journal Neuropsychology.