These Are Their Brains on Silence

How silence affects the scientists who study it.

When you study silence, you learn to listen differently. The neuroscientist Mike Wehr cited a public radio interview with Tom Petty that he’d heard. Petty had remarked that as a young musician, he’d tried to pack as much sound as possible into every song. Only later in his career did he learn that longer silences build contrasts and vary the texture of music. “Where you have a lot of silence,” Wehr said, “the individual elements can actually stand out.”

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These Are Their Brains on Silence