Mind, Body & Music, with Dr. Daniel J. Levitin
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If anyone can claim the mantle of contemporary renaissance man, Dr. Levitin surely qualifies.
He’s an award-winning musician who’s written and recorded music for Santana, The Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder, and many others.
He’s credited with major findings in the field of neuroscience, where the “Levitin effect” is a commonly known phenomenon (people can apparently remember music in absolute pitch, not just in relative pitch).
He taught at Stanford and McGill, is a founding dean at the Keck Graduate Institute, and runs his own neuroscience lab.
That said, he still enjoys playing in local bands and occasionally performs as a stand-up comedian.
His work is accessible and takes the high road (sacrificing no rigor, depth, or precision) to exploring some fundamental human phenomena: music, and what it means to human beings, how we can manage information overload, the mechanisms behind the culture of lies in the media, and, most recently, the science of successful aging.
He crisscrosses between science and art, but pursues each with its own distinct spirit: talk to him about music or comedy, and he lights up with childlike wonder; switch to cognitive science, and he’s levels deep into why we need more data before we overshoot our conclusions.
This combination of artfulness and scientific precision is behind the wild popularity of his TED talk. Dan doesn’t deliver watered-down “popular science”. He takes scientific insights developed via the highest standards, and simplifies them in a practical and engaging manner.
Let’s start with a question: Would anything change if music disappeared?
Link to the full interview here.