Home > art, artist, Blogger, brain, brooklyn, commission, conceptual, education, IFTTT, michelle hunter, neuroscience, new york, sciart, science > NEW #Painting : The #Brain and Recoil Sounds

NEW #Painting : The #Brain and Recoil Sounds

Hey you!

How do you react when you hear an unpleasant sound? For example:

  • Nails on a chalkboard
  • Child crying at a high pitch
  • Metal against glass
  • Brakes screeching

We usually recoil, maybe even cover our ears. The sounds are so sensitive to us that we physically try to protect ourselves. Well, allow me to introduce my latest brain painting “Cacophony. ” The word cacophony means “a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.” Thanks to a good friend for the name suggestion!

The new painting has also been featured on the Scientific American blog!!

20″ x 24″

Acrylic on Canvas 
2014 ©Michelle Hunter

** NOTE: No chalk was used in the making of this painting. It’s all acrylic paint. Cool huh 🙂

There was an interesting study published in the Journal of Neuroscience conducted by Newcastle University scientists with funding from the Wellcome Trust. The study, “Features versus Feelings: Dissociable Representations of the Acoustic Features and Valence of Aversive Sounds,” looked at the interaction between our amygdala (our emotion area of our brains) and our auditory cortex.

I came across this and other articles that referenced this study on recoil sounds published in The Journal of Neuroscience (http://ift.tt/1r1IatI). It inspired the painting.

Pink is the amygdala and it plays a large part in our processing of emotions
Blue is the auditory cortex
Yellow is the area of the auditory cortex that handles gauging frequencies. Apparently, sound vibrations of 2,000 to 5,000 Hz are considered to be unpleasant

The article came up with a top 10 list of unpleasant sounds from their research. I included a few of them in the painting, like:
1. Knife on a bottle
2. Chalk on a blackboard
3. Nails on a blackboard
4. Female scream
5. Brakes on a cycle squealing
6. Baby crying

Are there other sounds (PG) that make you cringe?

As always feedback is welcome!! I would love to know your thoughts and recommendations on other brain topics of interest!


2014 ©Michelle Hunter

2014 ©Michelle Hunter

2014 ©Michelle Hunter
2014 ©Michelle Hunter
2014 ©Michelle Hunter

2014 ©Michelle Hunter
2014 ©Michelle Hunter
2014 ©Michelle Hunter

2014 ©Michelle Hunter

In the below photo, I took a picture of myself holding a pen (because I didn’t have chalk) so I can use the photo as reference for painting my hand as you see it in the final painting.

2014 ©Michelle Hunter
2014 ©Michelle Hunter
Michelle Hunter 
Exploring Neuroscience Through Art
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