Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Sherlockian brain synch

This post might give away how slowly I read non-fiction, but do you remember a few posts ago when I mentioned reading You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy, and its reference to the Algonquin Round Table? The Algonquin has its Sherlockian connection to some of us, but moving on to chapter two I ran head-on into a more direct Sherlockian connection, which is making me start to wonder about what Kate Murphy's hobby might be.

In the book's second chapter, Kate Murphy relates a a neuroscience experiment that took place at Princeton University, where one subject would listen to another subject describe a scene from BBC Sherlock. Brain waves from both subjects were monitored, and it found that the brain of the person listening to someone talk about BBC Sherlock started to have the same neural patterns as the person who had watched the show. Their brains started synching up.

Does this work with every subject in the world? Maybe. But thanks to that Princeton experiment, we know for certain it works with Sherlock Holmes!

That explains a lot about my state in coming away from 221B Con each year. The amount of different people that I listen to across the hourly panel discussions, added to the other random chances to converse and listen, make for a whole lot of different brains lending their patterns to synch. And by the end of the three days spent at the con, I know we're all just a little more attuned to that community of folk than when we arrived.

But Sherlockians have always been synching up, for as long as I can remember. It's a part of why we do it, finding this one set of human-shaped concepts moving through a word-sequenced set of sixty paths that starts our initial recognition of a familiar carrier of that pattern. (Ooooo, suddenly Sherlockian fandom sounds like an alien parasite invasion, doesn't it? What if Conan Doyle was infected by a word-virus from the ether that he transmitted to others via his pen? It's Five Million Years to Earth, but with a giant glowing Sherlock appearing over London. Well, this just took a dark turn. Time to exit this parenthetical.)

Anyway, to get simple for a minute to tie this off: Sherlock friends good. Book tell Brad that.

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