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Thread: Music + brains = different brain functioning?

  1. #1 Music + brains = different brain functioning? 
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    Hi. I recently spoken to my friend with the effect of music on the brains, thinking in particular. I was interested in more, when I recalled such a thing, so I googled of course and found some nice information. Although, I haven't find as much, as I liked, strangely. And of course many threads neglecting other ones, like one saying that and that is true, another says it's a lie and another thing is true.

    So anyway, I looked up for a nice looking science forum, this looked quite good, so this is my first post here...

    The question: How does the music affect our brains, behavior and thinking? How it does it (why do we react to such things)? Are the effects long or short term?

    And now the part, which I couldn't find at all (except about classical music and rock of course... -.-): Which music affects the brain how? Like metal, jazz, classical, pop, 80s, etc...

    So... What do you think?

    And sorry for my English, it isn't my main language and I have learned it by myself...

    P.S. don't say it, if you are not sure about it, or say so then. I like facts, not opinion, because opinion is wrong most of the time.


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Your english is fine, but your questions are complex. There is no one right answer. Different music effects different people in different ways. For some people, listening to classical music sooths and calms them, whereas for other people listening to classical music makes them irritated and agitated.

    Music stimulates the brain, so is good in that sense. However, it also draws attention, so if you are trying to concentrate on something difficult it could actually distract you.

    The effects of music on our mood tend to be short-term, however, the neurological impact can be rather lasting. For example, a person who grows up listening to music 6 hours per day every day will have their brain impacted in a way which a person who lived in silence (or even much less music) would not.

    It doesn't matter what type of music it is. Some music can cause us to release adrenaline and things like that, but that's less an impact on our brain and more an impact on our endocrine system.


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    There has been an immense amount of research in this area. As a complete amateur in the field my impression (that's an opinion, but a reasoned one) is that music definitely effects our brains, but we have yet to define precisely how and to what extent.

    Here are some interesting research article links.

    Persistent patterns of brain activity: an EEG coherence study of the positive effect of music on spatial-temporal reasoning.

    Brain Organization for Music Processing

    Brain Indices of Music Processing: “Nonmusicians” are Musical


    Emotional responses to pleasant and unpleasant music correlate with activity in paralimbic brain regions

    I think this handful of examples illustrate something of the range and depth of investigations in this field.
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  5. #4  
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    Thanks, finally got a free hour, that was some read. I was looking simple pages, not .pdf files...

    Anyway, it still didn't answered all my questions, though it explained clearly, that studies of this concept are very... non-advanced.
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    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    There are many genres, and not any of them are liked by everyone. Some people do not find some music pleasing in any way, to the contrary, some people suffer if they listen to certain music that others like a great deal. So whether there are universal effects, other than simply being heard, is questionable.

    There is a lot of cultural influence, but obviously since the brain is doing the processing, there are biological influences. How much the brain changes when introduced to new sounds though is something that should be studied as well, to
    determine whether tastes can be consciously trained to change.

    I recall a study on birds that when born and raised in captivity they would sing a song very different than the wild birds; but after each generation, the capitive birds sang a song more like the wild birds. This might suggest a biological preference that each geneneraton learned a little bit about, and then passed it on to future generations to build on. Birds in the wild their songs change very little over generations, unless other factors change, forcing them to find ways to stand out from competing suitors.

    I know that as a musician, I can play a couple chords that do not sound very nice at all on their own or together, but can then find a way to make them work. They aren't music, but then they become a part of music. Composers have been shown to prefer extremes in music, vs non-composing musicians, and non musicians who generally prefer "regression to the mean." This is to say that composers prefer higher high notes, lower low notes, tempo changes, and volume control, and more dynamic music over all; wheras others prefer music that remains close to the root notes, average rhythm, and volume throughout the tune, deviation from this is prefered on a culture to culture bassis.
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  7. #6  
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    This is an interesting test with birds. I heard a part of it somewhere, but I really didn't knew it all.

    That fact about musicians and non-musicians could be true. I'm not a musician, although, I wouldn't mind, if I've learned how to play guitar. So anyway, I've used to listen to metal and other stuff like that, but my brains obviously stopped working very well, so I thought, that I need something new and not so 'bad mood' music like... And for the cultural aspect: I didn't liked any music the people around here listens, or used to listen/sing.
    So anyway, I thought, that Jazz could be nice, so I've tried a few songs... And there we go: I liked the ones with average sounds. Maybe little jumpy amplitude, but not very jumpy, as saxophones used in some songs. I just didn't liked those particular songs with jumpy sounds.
    Sorry for my poor English skills, I've learned it by myself... Trying to improve them, feel free to criticize, hehe.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    Once apon a time this was the field I wanted to get into, neural-physics, specifically studying this exact topic, the effects of music on neurology. But I've decided to just write/perform and then put money into research if I get rich.

    I just rock too fast for school.

    This is very interesting though. There is a lot more to it than just music though. One would need to define music, and that could mean picking a set of rather arbitrary characteristics that separates a collection of noises from music. A solid definition of music might not include what some people consider music, and a loose definition of music might be so broad as to be theoretically useless.

    When determining a solid definition of music it would be important to consider cultural differences, as well as speciestic differences. Since there are experimental and counter-cultures who are actively stretching the boundaries of what people consider music, it would be important to draw the line somewhere. Inevitably some group will be underrepresented, but they can do their own studies.

    It would be most practical, IMO, to be as specific as possible. Instead of looking for the effects of "Music" look for the effects of particular pieces of music. This would avoid the tedious task of defining something that is not universal.

    Also, by using a particular piece of music, one could gauge the effects of familiarity and cultural influence.
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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