Music and the Brain

I will begin my post with a quote from the esteemed Frederich Nietzsche: “Without music, life would be a mistake”. While Frederich is clearly speaking in hyperbole, music does permeate aspects of our lives that we often fail to recognize or understand. The development of brain imaging material illuminated the myriad of brain structures that are activated by music. Since that time, music and it’s affect on the brain has been a topic of discussion and research in the scientific community. I will explore this topic in further detail during my ted talk at the CLAS day, but I will leak a few tidbits now to wet your whistles. 

1. After hearing a short piece of either happy or sad music, people are more likely to label a neutral facial expression as happy or sad in accordance with the music they heard. 

2. Temperature, lighting and music can affect productivity and creativity. Ambient noises improves creativity and productivity. Moderate to low noise levels increase our creative thinking, while loud music decreases it.

3. Young adults music choices predicts personality traits. Using the big five personality traits, specifically openness to experiences, extraversion and emotional stability, were significantly correlated with genre preferences. 

4. Music distracts us while driving and accomplishing other tasks that require attention. 

5. Musical training increases motor skills and reasoning abilities.

6. Classical music improves visual attention and spatial intelligence. 

This list is not exhaustive by any means. Music has the ability to change our neurochemistry in powerful fashion. 


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