Familiar with the so-called "Mozart effect" study, which showed evidence of children having improved performance in a cognitive task after listening to Mozart? Later studies have confirmed that music can in fact enhance cognitive functioning, and that these effects are by no means restricted to Mozart, or even to classical music for that matter. But how early on in children’s lives we can start to see these benefits? Recently, a group of researchers arranged a music intervention for nine-months-olds to see whether music training might support language learning in babies. Read more about the fascinating findings of the study in this post.
Music automatically moves us. Even if you are sitting absolutely still, your motor cortex is still active when you listen to music. This special link between movement and sound is thought to have been around since music began. It has been proposed that through its capacity to synchronize movements of individuals, music made it possible for us to cooperate more efficiently and thereby survive as a species. Music can therefore be thought of as an inherently social phenomenon, and as something that exists to move us in synchrony, in order to help us bond.
Why and how might music offer relief to patients suffering from disorders of consciousness and their families?
As the population ages, people are working for more years before retirement. At the same time, the cognitive requirements of the work we do are increasing. Are our brains up for the challenge? Could music offer an easy, enjoyable way to combat cognitive decline associated with normal aging?
Despite awareness of its importance for overall wellbeing, some people honestly dislike exercise. Recently, scientists investigated whether music as well as music videos could be used to alter people’s emotional responses during exercise, perhaps making that dreaded treadmill workout feel slightly less terrible. The question is intriguing: could you actually trick your brain into liking exercise with the help of music?
As we wrote in an earlier post, if scent has a hotline to memory, music has a hotline to emotions. Owing to this power that music has on influencing our emotions, music is routinely used to alter people’s feelings (something called musical mood induction) in scientific experiments that wish to look at the effects of different feelings on, for example, behavior. This tight link between music and emotion, and emotion and cognition in general, may in part even account for the effects on performance that people experience after listening to music, such as improved focus, or even better sports performance.
Taste in music, music listening habits, and the general significance of music in their daily lives differ can differ widely from person to person. Listening preferences are probably the sum of many variables, developing and changing throughout life. Unraveling the different factors that influence preferences is of great interest to the music industry – if you could reliably predict who likes what and why, you could provide more music they like, at the times they want to hear it! Understanding the sources of individual differences related to musical enjoyment more deeply would also help design more effective therapeutic procedures involving music.
Many factors influence our preferences for certain songs and determine whether a song is enjoyable to us. The reasons why people like certain artists or musical genres are highly complex and individual, but new research confirms the role of cultural norms in what we find appealing in music.
Alzheimer’s currently affects an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide. As the population ages, this number is estimated to double every 20 years. There is considerable interest in finding easy access ways to treat symptoms, and for maintaining the quality of life of affected individuals. Listening to music may be one way of addressing cognitive difficulties associated with Alzheimer’s, especially problems with memory.
Management of pain is a major goal in the treatment of many conditions. Alongside traditional options for pain alleviation, music therapy shows promise as a powerful, non-pharmacological intervention. In addition to active therapy conducted by trained professionals, the possibilities of mere music listening in pain alleviation are intriguing. Could such a seemingly simple, everyday activity actually produce observable improvements in pain?
Research on the topic of enhancing cognitive function with music is abundant. However, most of it focuses on what happens after listening to music. New research looks at cognitive effects of music during listening, and the impact that music training may have on it's effectiveness in boosting concentration.
We’re launching a web app where you can share a song that really works for you, that makes you fall asleep, that helps you relax, that enhances a walk or a run. Your thoughtful recommendation makes a difference!
Our goal is to gather a million songs. Please share one: go.syncproject.co