Close up of a cup of coffee

Coffee: The Musical (in your mind)

It’s a cup of coffee. But how does my brain know that this is a cup of coffee? …

In a way, it’s hard to even understand what the question is because this comes so naturally to us, right? We just look at something and we have this integrated perception of a cup of coffee. You’re like, what’s the big mystery? … [T]o see the world as a coherent thing is a miracle …

Now a few years ago, a number of neurologists trying to figure out how the idea of coffee comes to be came upon a kind of musical analogy that a brain creating a thought — creating, say, a cup of coffee — is kinda like a musical event. Neurons in one side of the brain and another side of the brain are recognizing color or shape or something, and if they vibrate together … if they create, say, the same note … that synchrony is a cup of coffee.

Emergence: The Unconscious Toscanini of the Brain | Radiolab