Music makes you smarter

Oct 26, 2009

Regularly playing a musical instrument changes the anatomy and function of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.

There is growing evidence that musicians have structurally and functionally different brains compared with non-musicians. In particular, the areas of the used to process music are larger or more active in musicians. Even just starting to learn a can changes the of the brain.

Lutz Jäncke, a member of Faculty of 1000 Medicine, proposes using music in neuropsychological therapy, for example to improve language skills, memory, or mood. In a review for Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports, an online publication in which leading researchers highlight advances in their field, Jäncke summarizes recent studies of professional musicians.

The brain regions involved in music processing are also required for other tasks, such as memory or language skills. "If has such a strong influence on brain plasticity," writes Jäncke, "this raises the question of whether this effect can be used to enhance cognitive performance."

Several studies indeed show that musical practice increases memory and language skills, and Jäncke suggests expanding this field: "Hopefully, the current trend in the use of musicians as a model for brain plasticity will continue ... and extend to the field of neuropsychological rehabilitation."

More information: f1000biology.com/reports/10.3410/B1-78/

Source: Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine

Explore further: Innovative imaging study shows that the spinal cord learns on its own

Related Stories

Why musicians make us weep and computers don't

Jul 09, 2008

Music can soothe the savage breast much better if played by musicians rather than clever computers, according to a new University of Sussex-led study published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Mandarin language is music to the brain

Dec 12, 2006

It’s been shown that the left side of the brain processes language and the right side processes music; but what about a language like Mandarin Chinese, which is musical in nature with wide tonal ranges"

Recommended for you

Men and women could use different cells to process pain

8 hours ago

We have known for some time that there are sex differences when it comes to experiencing pain, with women showing a higher sensitivity to painful events compared to men. While we don't really understand w ...

Pupillary reflex enhanced by light inside blind spot

9 hours ago

University of Tokyo researchers have found that the light reflex of the pupil is modulated by light stimulation inside the blind spot in normal human observers, even though that light is not perceived.

How your brain knows it's summer

Jun 29, 2015

Researchers led by Toru Takumi at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a key mechanism underlying how animals keep track of the seasons. The study, published in Proceedings of the Na ...

His and her pain circuitry in the spinal cord

Jun 29, 2015

New research released today in Nature Neuroscience reveals for the first time that pain is processed in male and female mice using different cells. These findings have far-reaching implications for our ba ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.