SOUND SCIENCE: Listening to music makes you smarter.
Neuroscientists are developing exciting new understandings of how music develops our brains. We’re rapidly learning that listening to music can raise your IQ, improve your emotional development, and even physically strengthen your brain. Despite the popular assumption that right brain activities are distinct and even opposite from left brain activities, researchers have found correlations between brain areas stimulated by music and those stimulated by mathematics. These findings should profoundly affect the debates on how and why to fund music education in the public schools.
One takeaway is that music is so powerful partly because the brain uses not one but many parts to process it. Music dances across our neurons, recruits the auditory cortex to interpret the sound, the cerebellum for the beat — the same neural circuitry we use for language — and then integrates it all smoothly.
Click on the links below, featuring some of the latest academic research, which will stimulate your own neurons.
Contributing editor: Edward Lifson / Illustration above: Sean Kelly
Above: The Society for Music Perception and Cognition, is dedicated to the study of the correlations between behavior, academics, IQ and music.
Regions of the brain that process music:
MEDIAL PREFONTAL CORTEX BRAIN STEM, AUDIOTORY CORTEX: Musical training helps people with hearing loss understand speech in noisy situations.
DOPAMINE RELEASE: Music is treated as a pleasurable reward by the brain, leading to the release of dopamine which causes chills.
SUPPLEMENTARY MOTOR AREA, MID-PREMOTOR CORTEX (PMC), CEREBELLUM: Listening to musical rhythms recruits motor regions of the brain. Observation of PMC shows that there is a connection between sound and movement.