Scientists Discover Area Of Brain Responsible For Loving Johnny Cash

Illustration for article titled Scientists Discover Area Of Brain Responsible For Loving Johnny Cash

Brains are funny things. Injure them or mess with them, and people change — they change personalities, they change languages, and sometimes, they change their opinions on the Man in Black, Johnny Cash.


We know this because a journal in Frontier in Behavioural Neuroscience discusses a man who received an electrical implant in his brain to combat his obsessive-compulsive disorder. The implant stimulated his brain by sending impulses to specific parts of hit — which, as it turns out, included the part of the brain which really classic, badass country music. From the article:

Mr. B., had never been a huge music lover. His musical taste was broad, covering Dutch-language songs, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, with a preference for the last named. While music did not occupy an important position in his live, his taste in music had always been very fixed and his preferences stayed the same throughout decades. On average, a half year after DBS surgery, Mr. B. stated that he was turning into a Johnny Cash fan. He had been listening to the radio, when he coincidentally heard "Ring of Fire" of the Country and Western singer and experienced that he was deeply affected by the song. Mr. B. started to listen to more songs of Johnny Cash and noticed that he was deeply moved by the raw and low-pitched voice of the singer. Moreover, he experienced that he preferred the performance of the songs in the Seventies and Eighties, due to the fullness of the voice of the older Johnny Cash in that period. ...

From this moment on, Mr. B. kept listening simply and solely to Johnny Cash and bought all his CD's and DVD's.

...although Mr. B. played almost simply and solely Johnny Cash songs for the following years, the music never starts to annoy him. From the first time Mr. B. heard a Johnny Cash song, the Dutch-language songs, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have been banned.

The dude really liked Johnny Cash. But as the article continues, when the implant lost its electrical charge, "Mr. B" also lost his Johnny Cash fandom. Which apparently happened every single time! When the implant was recharged, he was singing "Folsom Prison Blues," and when it ran out of juice, the researchers said "Johnny Cash is unconsciously ignored and his old favorites are played once again, just as it was for the past 40 years."

This raises so many questions!

• If the implant had hit a neuron or two over, would Mr. B have fallen in love with Waylon Jennings or Willie Nelson?

• Do we have a moral responsibility to give everybody who doesn't appreciate how awesome Johnny Cash is the same implants?

• When will science finally be able to create full-time Johnny Cash fans who aren't dependent on intermittent recharges?


• If Mr. B's first name was Sue, would this have affected the implant's efficacy?

[Via Neatorama]



Rob Bricken