The Effects of Music on the Brain
Think music is just for fun? Yes, music can really make a party, and it definitely helps pass the time on long road trips. But there are also many positive effects of music on the brain — benefits that academics have spent time studying and confirming.
What are these effects? And what do they mean for you? Read on to learn more about the effects of music on the brain, as well as how you can harness music to help make you a better family member, employee and person.
6 Positive Effects of Music on the Brain
Music offers so many benefits, both for brain development for young people and for brain maximization for adults. Here’s a look at just 6 of those benefits, as well as links to studies that provide access to the underlying research:
1. Reduced Stress
Simply listening to (or even playing) music can help improve your mood while also reducing stress. How? Music is scientifically proven to reduce cortisol, which is a stress hormone. And the music need not be upbeat and happy if you’re feeling down and out. Even sad music can improve mood and reduce stress.
While music helps to lower cortisol, it also increases dopamine at the same time. That’s good news for your body, as dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is part of the brain’s system that handles motivation and the connection between pleasure and reward.
2. Enhanced Creativity
This should come as no surprise, but: Studies show that listening to music also enhances creativity. If you’re trying to come up with a wide range of ideas or concept for a certain project, listening to music that you like can help you brainstorm.
It’s not just creative professional who need to create either. Sometimes people think that only artists or writers or musicians need to be creative, but attorneys, doctors, financiers, real estate agents, teachers and a wide range of others working in different industries need to be creative, too. Perhaps start thinking of creativity as problem solving. And everyone needs to solve problems at some point during the workday.
3. Boosted Productivity
Playing a little background music at your office can lead to all sorts of benefits, including better creativity, more ideas, faster task completion and much more — all with enhanced accuracy to boot.
The idea of music as a productivity enhancer has been tested and proved in software development, medical care and a wide range of other settings. In fact, music is shown to help those working in pressure-filled jobs to better perform their duties.
4. Better Socialization
Believe it or not, music can actually motivate us to want to help others. This is just one of the many so-called “pro-social” behaviors that music is associated with. In general, music helps us become more empathic, kind and generous. If you want to be a better person, just listen to some music.
And the benefits are for all ages. Even children as young as 1 year are more helpful and better behaved when exposed to music.
5. Improved Academic Performance
Are you a student? Or, do you have a child who’s a student? Make sure there’s plenty of music for the student in your life, because music is shown to improve academic performance.
Music inside or outside of school can increase IQ scores, improve the development of language and vocabulary, increase spatial intelligence and brain connectivity, enhance test scores and more. Also, if you ever catch wind that your local school district is cutting music programs, simply show them this article.
6. Fighting Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Senior living communities are now using music as a way to fight back against the memory issues that many aging adults experience. Seniors who play instruments, dance, sing or simply listen to music are better at cognitive tests, even as their peers begin to enter a stage when memory significantly declines.
In fact, the 2014 documentary film Alive Inside showed how the power of music is making a difference in the lives of seniors. Here’s a look at the film’s trailer:
Final Thoughts on the Effects of Music on the Brain
The great thing about music today is just how easy it is to find. With nothing but an Internet connection, you can access Spotify and Pandora and other music streaming services. You can even listen to entire albums right on YouTube. Not to mention you have your radio when sitting in your car — find your favorite station and listen in.
Given just how widespread the benefits of listening to music, it would be a shame if you didn’t put on some tunes from time to time, both for you and your family or co-workers.
How does music affect you? Send us a message directly, or you can always share about your relationship with music in the comments section below.
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