Does music make you smarter? Can you increase intelligence from studying it?
I’m sure you have asked these questions quite a few times. In fact, this is one of the most commonly asked questions within the realm of music and it’s lovers.
So… is it true that it makes you more intelligent? YES! Let me tell you how…
Around April of 2015, Boston’s Children’s Hospital held a study and found that musical training enhances the executive function of the brain in both children AND adults. But… what is the “executive function” that I speak of exactly?
Executive functions are mental skills that enable people to think effectively. These functions lend us a hand everyday by helping us juggle multiple tasks at a time or remember instructions.
Boston Children’s Hospital has also found that there is a correlation between musical training and cognitive abilities.
Circuits of the brain are shaped by systematic training. This leads to relying less on memory and even more extensive connectivity within the brain. Make sense?
Brain activation has been found to be enhanced within other brain regions that are not linked to executive function, such as the insula and the cerebellum. 2014 University of Liverpool has found that training musically enhances the flow of blood in the left part of the brain.
This left hemisphere of the brain is used to control not only the right side of the body, but it is also used in logic and academics, such as science or mathematics.
It is also found that the fine arts themselves can improve your… wait for it… STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES! According to a study by The College Board, the arts help increase these scores (ex: SAT) by a whopping 100 points!! Neat, huh?
Another cool fact is that a professional musician’s brain is way different than a normal person’s.
Scans show that the musician’s brain is more symmetrical. These means that areas of the brain for motor control, spatial intelligence, and auditory processing are larger.
Just in case you were not aware, spatial intelligence is the ability to understand how things work together. Composers use this skill all the time to write harmonies in their compositions!
However, besides being a musician, this skill can help in careers such as engineering, computer science, architecture, or even mathematics.
Within the brain of a professional musician, there is also a larger corpus callosum. This is a band of nerve fibers that enables the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate with one another. What else is pretty awesome is that playing music AND listening to music can stimulate certain molecules of the brain.
Listening increases the neurotransmitter dopamine, also known as the “motivation molecule”. The motivation molecule is integral for the pleasure-reward system.
Neurotransmitter dopamine is the same chemical of the brain that is responsible for the feel-good states acquired from eating chocolate and “runner’s high”.
Playing music as a group or listening to live music stimulates a brain hormone called oxytocin, also referred to as the “moral molecule” or “trust molecule”. It helps us bond with others and put trust towards others.
Music improves language development and it also even puts a small increase onto a person’s IQ.
There you have it… music CAN make you smarter, even if you’re just listening to it! So the ones out there who listen to their tunes all the time, keep up the good work 😉
I hope this article has helped you understand the vital importance of music and what it can do for you and your mind. Please share with your friends and family. Got any questions or thoughts on this matter? Leave me a comment… I would love to read what you have to say 🙂