Weird psychoacoustic phenomenon... can anyone explain?
Mar 1, 2006 at 6:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 61

Leopold

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A couple of days ago I noticed that my whole body seems to respond to music - from headphones?? It is not the "goosebump-effect" I mean, I'm familiar with that one.

No, what I'm taking about is something much more physical, reminding very much of the physical sensation you get from standing in front of a high-powered speaker system, coming from wavefronts and resonances in the body. It is not imagination: music on, the sensation is there following powerful midbass (clean electric guitars for instance) and deep bass transients in particular, even powerful voices. Music off: nothing. Loud, clean, powerful music makes the most evident effect, a vibrating/tingling sensation tuned to the music.

It would be interesting to know other peoples experiences about this, and if something is known about the mechanism behind it. Is it really incoming signals from skin sensors that I perceive, and in that case how are they triggered? Are they propagated as microfluctuations in blood pressure or neurally from its origin in the ears? Or maybe it is really just some kind of a phantom image created by the brain, simulating a body response from previous experience of music and sound... many questions there!

The gear in question is Beyerdynamics DT250-80 and PA2v2. I never noticed this effect with my Koss Portapro but on the other hand I think I've listen much more in depth with the new gear. I enjoy music at significantly louder levels with the Beyers, maybe that has a lot to do with it as well.

I'd be happy for all ideas, what is going on here?!

EDIT: wrong title! It should have been "Weird psychosomatic-acoustic..." or something like that.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 7:27 PM Post #2 of 61

NotJeffBuckley

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I know that when wearing my HD650, I get the feeling of chest-bass despite the clear fact that there isn't any. It's all in my head, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it. The strange thing is that I don't get it at all from my SR-225 or ATA900, despite the fact that they both have good bass impact and go pretty low.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 8:25 PM Post #3 of 61

Leopold

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Good to hear that I'm not alone in this peculiar but wonderful experience! Maybe the nervous system really does not care about causes and effects, that it is all about associations in the neural network that reverberates throughout the body.

If the sound reaching the brain through the ears has all the characteristics of a real sound source at some specific position in the environment, then maybe the brain has no other choice than to connect it with the bodily sensation that usually accompanies the sound. If it really is a big japanese drum you have to feel it, otherwise the experience would make no sense to the mind. The brain has to make sense at all times I guess. Well that's one theory at least... any neurologists around perhaps?

I had no idea headphones could do this. I'm baffled to say the least.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 8:51 PM Post #5 of 61

Cousin Patty

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Haha. That guys off the wall
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Mar 1, 2006 at 8:53 PM Post #6 of 61

drarthurwells

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Leopold
Good to hear that I'm not alone in this peculiar but wonderful experience! Maybe the nervous system really does not care about causes and effects, that it is all about associations in the neural network that reverberates throughout the body.

If the sound reaching the brain through the ears has all the characteristics of a real sound source at some specific position in the environment, then maybe the brain has no other choice than to connect it with the bodily sensation that usually accompanies the sound. If it really is a big japanese drum you have to feel it, otherwise the experience would make no sense to the mind. The brain has to make sense at all times I guess. Well that's one theory at least... any neurologists around perhaps?

I had no idea headphones could do this. I'm baffled to say the least.



Art: That is a good explanation.

What you are describing is overgeneraliztion of conditioned responding.

All responses are conditioned along with the innate responding. This is the placebo effect for instance - taking a sugar pill that we think is medicine has a therapeutic effect because we have conditioned expectations that medicine will cure or mollify.

Thus we can get autonomic and other somatic sensations, that we get innately from live music, from a generalized conditioned response to headphone reproduction.

This is a symptom of insanity.

You are all nuts.

I can treat you for $200 (per each email treatment). Five such treatment should be enough from the placebo effect.

Or I can sell you a prayer, from my direct spiritual communication, to the divine source of your chosing, at half the above price.

Take advantage of these offers before this post gets deleted.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 8:54 PM Post #7 of 61

stewtheking

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The ENORMOUS vocal solo in the middle of Nina Simone's "feeling good" does it for me. As does the very end of "the great gate at kiev", Ravel arrangement of mussorgsky's pictures.

It is almost (and I really don't want to be crude, but I am a biologist and I can recognise very distinct similarities) an orgasmic experience, with the shivvers down your spine you lose yourself in the moment and the music.

Maybe I just need more sleep...
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 9:53 PM Post #8 of 61

Leopold

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Stewtheking: the orgasmic analogy is good. Some people get off easily, others take some serious hard work to get there
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... like... well never mind
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. Personally I can relate to the "goosebumping" as a kind of orgasmic effect, it is tripped by something we find extremely pleasurable and then it does its thing, autonomically. Shivers up and down our spines when talking about audio experiences. Sometimes we are more receptive to it, sometimes not.

DrArthurswells, the placebo effect is another good analogy that is more directed to this specific phenomenon, feeling vibrations that cannot be there from an objective point of view. I'm incurable though, this was far more addictive than I imagined at first... for now it only takes "light" drugs to get me going but I certainly see where I'm heading... Don't you dare to cure me!! Well not yet anyway...
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(no 250 smiley, what is this??)

JahJahBinks: I feel like I can listen at any volume now, what a relief! My tinnitus would have told me if it was too loud I'm sure, no complaints so far.

Cousin Patty: you may have a point...
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Mar 1, 2006 at 10:28 PM Post #9 of 61

drarthurwells

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Leopold
DrArthurswells, the placebo effect is another good analogy that is more directed to this specific phenomenon, feeling vibrations that cannot be there from an objective point of view. I'm incurable though, this was far more addictive than I imagined at first... for now it only takes "light" drugs to get me going but I certainly see where I'm heading... Don't you dare to cure me!! Well not yet anyway...
580smile.gif
(no 250 smiley, what is this??)



Art: The vibrations, goose bumps, tingling, etc. that you feel are real - neurosomatically caused.

It is their construction in the brain that is generalized from memories of other real (non-headphone) live listening experince, where this generalization is conditioned.

We construct our own experience - whether from live stimuli or recorded stimuli - and only with the interpretion provided by memories of such stimuli.

At times in headphone listening on my recliner, in a semi-trance, I am immersed in a live experience albeit of a minature band or orchestra instead of a large and real one. The headphones and other components just disappear.

Nirvana.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 10:36 PM Post #10 of 61

NotJeffBuckley

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It is a basic principle of neurology that what fires together, wires together. If you're used to feeling bass impact and having that chest thump feeling, you'll psychosomatically reproduce the sensations to an extent when you expect it to be heard.

Which, by the way, is why I'm an objectivist who relies on measurable, physical reality to point me in the direction of nice sound equipment instead of manufacturers' wild claims about the magic in their stuff.
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Mar 1, 2006 at 10:55 PM Post #11 of 61

Leopold

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If all this is true the logical strategy for an aspiring audiophile like me would be to subject myself to an abundance of real-world sound experiences, rather than buying increasingly more expensive gear. Without references of all kinds of real world sounds, and their effects to my body as a whole which are recorded in memory, upgrades are likely to be less appreciated. If not devoid of meaning entirely.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 11:41 PM Post #13 of 61

drarthurwells

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Leopold
If all this is true the logical strategy for an aspiring audiophile like me would be to subject myself to an abundance of real-world sound experiences, rather than buying increasingly more expensive gear. Without references of all kinds of real world sounds, and their effects to my body as a whole which are recorded in memory, upgrades are likely to be less appreciated. If not devoid of meaning entirely.


Art:

1. Live music can sound bad, with muddy tones and poor imaging, unless you have a position near the front center of the source, then you need ear plugs. Recordings can have greater clarity and detail than live music.

2. Upgrades are good since they are evaluated with memory referenced to the previous bad component (assuming the upgrade is better).

I once had a gambling problem and lost much money.

I quit gambling and got into Hi Fi.

Now I have less money than before.

lol
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 11:56 PM Post #14 of 61

smeggy

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Brains are very good at filling the gaps of what we are used to and what we expect in order to make better sense of what we (think) we are seeing/hearing/feeling. We have certain expectations and these are filled somewhat in our imaginations to make up for a lack of information in the real world.

If we hear big boom, we expect to feel big boom, brains anticipate and fill in the gaps. Same as we can listen to a piece and visualise a whole orchestra in our heads, even if we ourselves are sitting in a basement staring at a blank wall.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 12:02 AM Post #15 of 61

drarthurwells

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Quote:

Originally Posted by smeggy
Brains are very good at filling the gaps of what we are used to and what we expect in order to make better sense of what we (think) we are seeing/hearing/feeling. We have certain expectations and these are filled somewhat in our imaginations to make up for a lack of information in the real world.

If we hear big boom, we expect to feel big boom, brains anticipate and fill in the gaps. Same as we can listen to a piece and visualise a whole orchestra in our heads, even if we ourselves are sitting in a basement staring at a blank wall.



That's it in a nutshell.
 

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