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.
Common treatments for Parkinsons' Disorder include pharmacological treatments. However, these treatments often lose efficacy over time. Emerging efforts to use technology such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) have shown promise. Recent studies using DBS provide in-depth information about unique neural responses to music with this population, and how different kinds of music may be used to achieve specific clinical outcomes
Recent studies suggest that the feelings we get from music have the same power in enhancing learning and focus as other emotional responses. Do differences in personality affect receptivity to music-evoked emotions?
Selective attention is a kind of gatekeeper of our consciousness that lets in the information we concentrate on and attenuates or even completely filters out the rest. Usually, this process is highly helpful but sometimes the gatekeeper appears to become too selective when the attention system goes awry due to brain injury. This condition is called the spatial neglect syndrome. We explore the use of music in the treatment of spatial neglect.
Emotional responses to music were once viewed as so subjective and difficult to measure that few researchers dared to attempt studying them in the laboratory. Luckily today, mapping the neural correlates of musical emotions has become a central quest in music-related neuroscience
Ben Gold is a graduate student researcher at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research, working in Dr Robert Zatorre's Lab. Ben is interested in how music can become so important and rewarding to so many people, and his is currently studying on the dopaminergic effects of music listening. We asked him what how the technology like the Sync Project could help him lead future research into the effects of music and the brain.
Several studies have shown that music training during childhood augments how the brain processes sound and can also influence the development of language skills. According to a recent study, the effects are not limited to only childhood, but music training even during teenage years can have an effect on the maturation of brain functions important for linguistic skills.
Recently, a paper reported three studies where it was shown that neural oscillations of subjects started to follow the rhythm of the music the subjects were listening to. This means that groups of neurons in their brains could “catch” the beat of the music, and synchronize their firing to it. This syncing of oscillations to external cues is called neural entrainment.
Music training is associated with a wide range of changes in brain function and structure. Recent studies have shown that an early onset of music training results in more brain changes, indicating that there may be a sensitive period for music training, or an age where the brain is especially responsive. On the other hand, in terms of brain plasticity and positive effects of music training, it is never too late! Any age is the perfect age for starting a musical hobby, and studies show that during aging, music training could be a good way to combat cognitive decline.
Music has been called “the universal language of mankind”. Indeed, music exists in all cultures, but is there something common to all music in the world? Do truly universal musical characteristics exist?
Daniel Javitt and Robert Sweet recently published a review article in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience on the interesting case of altered auditory processing in individuals with schizophrenia. An intriguing question is whether and how music could be used as a targeted intervention for rehabilitation of auditory processing in schizophrenia.
Music training requires the parallel use of a wide variety of skills, including control over movements, accurate auditory skills, attention and memory. Formal music lessons are a rigorous, often daily, exercise of these skills that typically start in early childhood and persist for years. Research reveals this type of training and learning has more widespread effects on the brain than other activities.