Within 100 to 300 milliseconds. That’s how fast the human brain can recognize a familiar song, according to a UCL study. In other words, your brain can recognize a song before you can finish blinking (as an average blink takes about 400 milliseconds).
Anecdotally the ability to recall popular songs is exemplified in game shows such as ‘Name That Tune’, where contestants can often identify a piece of music in just a few seconds.
For this study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers at the UCL Ear Institute wanted to find out exactly how fast the brain responded to familiar music, as well as the temporal profile of processes in the brain which allow for this.
More about this study over at Neuroscience News.
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