Why do some Sound Branding elements work some don’t? Does neuroscience gives us the answer?

A study of the Stanford School of Music which I believe has great relevance to the area of Sound Branding was already released in 2007 (Link to the news release), however; it has yet not been widely discussed in the field of Acoustic Identity/ Sound Branding.

Using brain images of people listening to short symphonies by an obscure 18th-century composer, a research team from Stanford has gained valuable insight into how the brain sorts out the chaotic world around it.

The research team showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory. The study showed that peak brain activity occurred during a period of silence between musical movements. That may be the answer to the question why some Sound Branding Elements work much better (recognition & recall) than others.

The researchers caught glimpses of the brain in action using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, which gives a dynamic image showing which parts of the brain are working during a given activity.“In a concert setting, for example, different individuals listen to a piece of music with wandering attention, but at the transition point between movements, their attention is arrested,” said the paper’s senior author Vinod Menon, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of neurosciences.

Having a mismatch between what listeners expect to hear vs. what they actually hear—for example, if an unrelated chord follows an ongoing harmony—triggers similar ventral regions of the brain. Once activated, that region partitions the deviant chord as a different segment with distinct boundaries.

By better understanding the process of listening to music, this research has far-reaching implications for how to develop and design Sound Branding Elements and Acoustic Identities.


4 responses to “Why do some Sound Branding elements work some don’t? Does neuroscience gives us the answer?

  1. Cool study. It would be interesting to know if our brains respond the same way to visual pauses, like fades to black or scene changes in film.

  2. Well,…. this reminds me of two things:
    1. Friends of friends who know somebody have told me about people who blindfold each other to stimulate their fantasy.

    2. At least in Germany you can find some restaurants like the (“Dunkelrestaurant”) in Cologne, Berlin, or Hamburg that offer food in total darkness. On the website that I linked above it states that 70% of our impressions come from the eyes. If a human being is suddenly exposed to total darkness she or he is left with a sensory performance of only 30%. BUT, within minutes the sensory performance of this human being rises because ears and hands start to “see”.

    So, I am not sure if what friends of friends who know somebody told me is right, or if the figures behind my second commentary are true, but in a way this seems to make sense.

  3. Pingback: Another wake up call for Brand Marketers « Sound Branding Blog

  4. Pingback: Selling the Sound of Silence – How much do you charge? « Sound Branding Blog

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