Mozart and the Brain?
There’s always been debate on whether classical music increases IQ. But is there any scientific basis for this idea? A TED talk on Music and the Brain, by Jessica Grahn*, discusses this issue. She starts the story in 1993, when there was a craze for playing Mozart to babies, to improve brain function and perform better in tests – which, it seemed, they did.
However, the original test results on college students turned out not to be due to Mozart’s genius being imparted, but due to the type of music being played. The key research had used a jumpy, springy, energetic piece that got the participants psyched and ready for the spatial tests they had to complete. The non-Mozart control groups had silence, or some chilled music played to them – much less invigorating!
Time passed, and more scientists got involved and worked out that the improved results were linked to how the music made you feel. If it induced lethargy or relaxation you would perform less brilliantly than if it made you feel energised and happy.
So in summary, says Jessica, mood affects cognitive performance. There follows a list of the many amazing ways that music can impact life: it increases endurance while exercising, and reduces pain. It can aid stroke rehabilitation, release memories in dementia patients, and help those with Parkinson’s disease to walk.
Music can have a profound impact on our brains. What music makes you feel happy?
*You can watch it here.