Monday, 30 December 2013

Sound and Memories...

What has been the one aspect of human life that has remained constant with the passage of time, yet has been the harbinger of change? It is communication with fellow humans, especially with sound as the medium. As R L Stevenson has put it, “ Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but primarily by catchwords.” Even though we could easily be one of the weakest creatures to walk the surface of the earth, we could transform our environment to suit our needs by our ideas and by communicating them through words, or in the very basic form -Sounds.

Some trivia about sounds to substantiate my case:

A human baby's sense of hearing is up and running even before  birth. When a human baby is conceived, it learns its mother's sound before her face.

Also, the sound of each individual is unique. It is due to the shape and size of an individual's vocal cords and the shape of the vocal tract of the person.

There is also enough research on the topic of hearing related memory in babies, which is said to be amazingly long in human babies. During one study, pregnant women played a song of their choice to their unborn babies. As part of the experiment, the mothers did not play that song for a year after birth. Even after not hearing it for a year, the babies showed recognition when the familiar song was played. Suddenly the story of Abhimanyu, Arjun' son in the Mahabharath, learning to break the chakravyuh (circular formation of the battle troops) does not seem so far fetched.

The research on emotional memory says that the sights, sounds and smells can all evoke emotionally charged memories. The same part of the brain that is in charge of processing our senses is also responsible, at least in part, for storing emotional memories. What it means is that there is now proof that our memories, good or bad, can be linked to the sounds that we heard during that time. If we hear a song which we used to listen to during our childhood, it bring about a flood of memories. Suddenly, the home works not done and the “get out of the class” brings a smile on our face, albeit with a pinch of nostalgia, on the times that have past. And have left nothing but memories to us.

As some one have rightly said “ It is strange that we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures”


  1. Wow thats indeed a interesting research.I dint know that baby have that much good memory that they can react to the song or sound which they have heard in thier mommy's womb.That's incredible.