Tag Archives: music

Does Mozart make babies smarter?

Music has lots of strange properties, and can even be beneficial to your health as I discussed in a previous blog post, but can classical music make infants smarter? The rumored “Mozart’s Effect” claims that playing classical music when you’re pregnant will make your baby smarter, but there’s no actual evidence that this does anything. (In addition, they use this effect to describe the short-term improvement derived from listening to classical music, regardless of age) Is this all myth, or is there some fact to this saying?

I also brought Mozart to play while he sleeps to make him smarter because leading experts say Mozart makes babies smarter.”

Many studies have been conducted and shown that listening to classical music can help improve test results, for an example this is seen in one study where students who listened to Mozart before a test scored an average of 8 to 9 points higher to than those who didn’t. (It is important to note that the effect wore off after 15 minutes.) But those are college students, so what kind of effect does music have on babies, or even infants who haven’t been born yet?

One study was conducted where 12 mothers played a particular song for three months, and then when the children were one year old they placed them in a room and played three songs: one of which was the song their mother selected. The children seemed to have a clear preference for the song that was played to them while in the womb. This makes some logical sense, considering that babies can recognize their parent’s voices when they’re born. It’s not too much of a stretch to assume they could recognize other sounds if they heard them enough. Although, you could argue that this is all due to chance, especially with such a tiny sample size. Still, it’s not too far out there to suggest that these babies are, at some level, processing sounds. But do these sounds have any real effect?

An analysis of sixteen different studies found that while there was a brief improvement, it was only temporary and doesn’t actually increase your intelligence. This sentiment is resounded by other articles, and the general consensus is that classical music gives you a temporary boost in performance, but doesn’t increase your intelligence – and the same goes for your babies. You can play classical music for your babies, but there’s currently no evidence to prove that will have any significant effect on your child’s intelligence.


The Power of Music

Music is certainly a force to be reckoned with. I’ll admit I’ve had a song make me tear up, feel inspired, or pumped me and make me feel like running a marathon. Music has the power to sway our emotions, but can music heal us? Is it possible for a series of sound waves to have an healing effect on us?


A study set to see if music could improve symptoms of those in the hospital with schizophrenia. A single blind (the assessors were blind) randomized control trial took place with 81 participants. A variety of music was played for the patients along with a trained music therapist. Those who had music therapy added to their standard care had greater improvement with their symptoms in comparison to those who just had standard care. I believe this study was set up and controlled very well. The sample size is a little bit on the small size, but I believe that it isn’t small enough to make the findings obsolete.

An article reported on the neurochemistry of music, and noted that music can have positive physical effects such as: reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. It adds in addition that a proposed mechanism of music is that it can regulate stress, arousal and emotions by initiating brainstem responses. It suggests that tempo plays a big role, and that the brainstem fires in response to the tempo.

Another article discusses the power of music, claiming that music affects the heart, arteries, and lungs and could even help patients who have circulatory conditions. They had volunteers listen to orchestras play, and also had them listen to two minutes of silence. Researchers found that rising crescendos raised blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rates. In contrast, calming music did the opposite. During the two minute silence volunteer’s blood pressure and heart rate was reduced.

Can music heal? Well, it isn’t going to cure cancer, or destroy Ebola, but it definitely has some positive physical effects on our bodies. Music therapy is a field that has seen surprising and positive results and will continue to. In addition, music can certainly be cheaper than lots of other treatments with no side effects. There’s no harm in popping in some ear buds and listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.


Why do we like the music we like?

This question has always itched in the back of my mind, “Why do we like the music we like?” My only leads were the assumptions that it was either A. Something we haven’t discovered yet or B. Something very complicated I would never be able to understand. There doesn’t seem to be a complete answer to this question yet, but there is interesting research into this question and some helpful clues into what’s happening inside our brains. This article asks the same question and attempts to get some answers.

The two primary components working in our brains when we listen to music we like are the auditory cortex and the accumbens nucleus. The auditory cortex processes and stores all of the sounds we hear, and each person’s auditory cortex is unique. The accumbens nucleus shows signs of reward and pleasure. The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital ran an experiment to see how these two regions of the brain interact with each other. During the study they found that “the accumbens lights up when it hears new music after the song has been filtered through the auditory cortex”  (ideastations). During this process, the accumbens and auditory cortex communicate and give a reaction to the music – presumably you enjoy it or you do not. This result suggests that the accumbens, the region that plays a role in pleasure, has a hand in our reactions to hearing different music and could have an impact on what kind of music we enjoy listening to.

If this is true, then this could lead to a lot of addition questions: Are we programmed to like certain music? Could other things impact our interest in music, such as culture and context? Perhaps through our life our auditory cortex grows adjusted to hearing certain sounds, and becomes uninterested in other kinds of music. For an example, older people who love classical or jazz, but can’t stand listening to metal music. Does age also make a difference? We can’t quite answer these questions, but it’s some great food for thought.

source article

Studying The Beat


By Megan Butter

Music surrounds us all the time, and I can’t name one single person that doesn’t listen to it. It is  a part of our culture and everyone can relate to it some way or another. Recently studies have been conducted to see how exactly music effects our bodies.

Music stimulates our brain, and has a positive effect on our bodies. According to an article on CNN there was a study done with people who were about to undergo surgery, some were given a pill to calm their nerves, while others were told to listen to music. “The patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than people who took drugs,” (Landau, 2013). Music has a calming effect on the body and if some patients can be treated with music rather than drugs before surgery, then that is a great new cost effective way to help patients cope with the anxiety before surgery.

Also for some people music can give them chills. I know for me when I am in the zone and listening to a really good song by Eminem, I can feel chills, but I also feel that is because I can relate to the words that he is speaking in his rap.  According to Silvia and Nusbaum, “openness to experience was the strongest predictor of the typical experience of chills during music….Several markers of people’s experience and engagement with music in everyday life…did mediate openness’s effects,” (Silvia, Nusbaum, 2014). Hearing your life experiences in songs is incredible and can cause an overwhelming feeling to just come over you.

Finally, music can make miracles happen. There was an experiment conducted with stroke patients whose vision became impaired. The study happened in the UN and they used 16 stroke patients who had recently suffered their stroke (within a week). They had the patients either listen to classical music, white noise, or nothing. And surprise, surprise, the group with the highest score during the Behavioral InAttention Test were the patients who listened to classical music. The scientists concluded that, “listening to classical music may improve visual attention in stroke patients” (AJOT, 2013).  That is an amazing find! They want to do more studies to solidify their findings, but it is promising for all stroke patients, since majority of them suffer some sort of vision problems.

Music is universal and brings all different kinds of people together. It also has a huge influence on our health, and can change our mood in an instant. Next time you’re feeling blue you can either turn on a sad song and relate or you can turn on an upbeat jam to pump you up. Music is endless and is always changing and it will interesting to see what else scientists find it can do to our bodies and mind.