Patrick McNamara


Patrick McNamara is associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and a professor at Northcentral University. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and several books on the science of sleep and dreams, and on the psychology and neurology of religion. He is also a founding director of the Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion.

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Why a well-crafted melody has the power to colonise your mind

Patrick McNamara

Lots of interesting ideas in these posts! David Carr’s query concerning the ways in which music entrains our natural bodily rhythms points to yet another source of its power. Neuroscience could explain this musical entraining and rhythmic effect in multiple ways…I have seen some accounts involving the basal ganglia but I am not sure if that tells us anything new about music. Carr is right, it seems to me, to be wary of the group effects of music, another source of its power as pointed out by Marya Hart in her post. Religious groups have long used music to unify the group and to commune with the gods. Amos’ post contrasts song versus “absolute music” but I am not sure there is a substantiv...

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