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What music does to your brain, Providence students discuss music

Floriana Boardman

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Providence students discuss music

Providence students discuss music

Providence students discuss music

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From singing along with Ke$ha and Beyonce, to studying with Beethoven, to jamming out with Drake. Music is a central part of our lives and has a unique ability to change our mood, personality and health. Scientific studies have and are still being done to understand the effect music has on our brain.

According to the journal “Trends in Cognitive Sciences,” listening to music can translate into psychological benefit. In the study done in 2013, researchers analyzed patients who were about to undergo surgery. The participants were randomly assigned to either listen to music or take anti-anxiety drugs. The scientists then tracked the patients’ ratings of their anxiety and their levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

What happened was relatively simple, the patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than people who took anti-anxiety drugs. In a similar study in 2015, Massachusetts General Hospital found that listening to Mozart’s piano sonatas helped relax critically ill patients, as the Mozart pieces lowered stress hormone levels.

Similarly, music has positive effects on pain management. As reported by the Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to music can help reduce chronic pain by up to 21% and depression by up to 25%. However scientists are still trying to correlate this with more information, as continuous studies are being done to test music and pain management.

In another study done in 2014 by Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, researchers analyzed how music affects levels of IgA — an antibody for our immune system’s defense against disease. The participants in the study, undergraduate students of Wilkes University, had their IgA levels measured before and after 30 minutes of exposure to one of four conditions — listening to a tone click, a radio broadcast, a tape of soothing music or silence. Of the participants in the study, the students exposed to the soothing music had significantly greater increases in IgA than any of the other participants.

Additionally, The Journal of Neurology conducted a study in 2012 and found that music helps with memory. In this study, recent stroke survivors who had suffered memory loss were subjects, and each patient was assigned to listen daily either to music, to an audio book or to nothing. The patients were then tested on mood, quality of life and cognitive measures at one week, three months and six months post-stroke. The results showed that those in the music group improved significantly more on verbal memory and focused attention than those in the other groups. Those in the music group were also less depressed and confused at each measuring point.

Music is not limited to age. University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute conducted a study in 2015 and found that music helps children learn simple facts and orders, such as with the alphabet.

“A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a not-for-profit association that promotes the benefits of making music.

The systems in our brain remember certain melodies and then the words that are associated. The tones are beneficial to the child’s confidence and help the child express certain likes and dislikes.

With music being such an influential part of our daily lives, the positive effects music has on our mind and bodies is interesting. Music is continuously being used to help understand brain functions in general, and through music neuroscience can continue to grow. Who knew jamming out to Lady Gaga was doing so much to the brain?

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1 Comment

One Response to “What music does to your brain, Providence students discuss music”

  1. Luke Brown on May 4th, 2017 11:11 am

    Nice video. Great commentary.

    [Reply]

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What music does to your brain, Providence students discuss music