Music And Your Brain
Music lessons, and even simply listening to music, can enhance spatial reasoning performance, according to research presented at the 102nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.
The new findings were presented by psychologist Frances Rauscher, Ph.D. and neuroscientist Gordon Shaw, Ph.D., representing a research team from the University of California at Irvine.
Dr. Rauscher and Dr. Shaw confirm an "unmistakable causal link between music and spatial intelligence."
"We hope our research will help convince public school administrators of how crucial music instruction is to all children," they explained.
Dr. Rauscher and Dr. Shaw also plan experiments which will begin to examine the neuronal mechanisms responsible for the causal link between music and spatial intelligence.
Want To Learn Algebra? Grab Your Guitar!
High school students who take music lessons and join theater groups do better in math, reading, history, geography and citizenship, according to data in a study from the Education Department.
The study, which tracked more than 25,000 students for more than 10 years, found that students who reported consistently high levels of involvement with instrumental music scored significantly higher on math tests by the 12th grade.
Does Music Make You Smarter?
In several experiments, music has been shown to actually make people "smarter," increasing performance on IQ and aptitude tests.
Music activates the "temporal" lobes of the brain, according to William J. Cromie's article, "Music and the Brain," which appeared in the Harvard University Gazette.
"The temporal lobes are involved in processing music and memory," Cromie Writes, "Certain types of music may activate the temporal lobes and help them learn, process and remember information. Music opens new pathways into the mind."
According to Carl Amen's article from BrainPlace.com, the College Entrance Examination Board in 1996 reported that students who play an instrument scored roughly 50 points higher on the verbal section of the SAT and 39 points higher on the math section than the national average.
"Learning a musical instrument, at any age can be helpful to develop and activate temporal lobe neurons. As the temporal lobes are activated in an effective way they are more likely to have improved function overall", Amen says.
In professor of psychology Kathy Yoshimura's article about music and intelligence, she explains why musical children often earn higher test scores. Because brain development is incomplete at birth, she says, early experiences that stimulate the brain enhance its neurological growth.
When a child's brain is stimulated by listening to or playing music, certain areas of the brain are strengthened; studies show that these areas are often the same areas utilized in abstract reasoning.
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Take Two Mozarts And Call Me In The Morning!
In "The Mozart Effect for Children," author Don Campbell shows that music is the perfect tool to improve children's language, movement, and emotional skills at home, school, and play.
The results of the research using Mozart's music have been especially stunning and have given rise to the term the Mozart Effect. This term refers to the ability of Mozart's music to heighten spatial awareness and intelligence; its power to improve concentration and speech abilities; and the startling increase in SAT scores among students who sing or play an instrument.
But the Mozart Effect refers to more than just raising children's test scores. Music has been used as therapy for seizures, to lower blood pressure, treat ADD children, mental illness, depression, aid in healing, treat stress and insomnia and premature infants.
Musicologist Julius Portnoy found that music can change metabolic rates, increase or decrease blood pressure, effect energy levels, and digestion, positively or negatively, depending on the type of music.
Calming music, such as classical music was found to have a very calming effect on the body, and cause the increase of endorphins , thirty minutes of such music was equal to the effect of a dose of valium.
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