Effects of Music on the Mind and Body

Effects of Music on the Mind and Body

Effects of Music on The Mind And Body Effects of Music On The Mind and Body Music is all around. It is in on the radio, it is in the streets, it is on television, and basically everywhere! With so many musical devices that are being invented and upgraded it is almost impossible to avoid it. There are tons of different genres from rock and roll to classical. But the question is: How does music affect the brain? Everyday high school students get home, grab a snack and something to drink, and turn on a television or radio.

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Many students may have the intentions to study or finish their homework but they are even more concerned about what is on television or that hot new song that is on the radio. Most students know that it is distracting but they just lose their motivation and procrastinate about schoolwork. Students are constantly exposed to music and television, so they may feel uncomfortable when they are not exposed to some sort of distraction. So is music harmful to the brain, or does it merely enhance the mind’s cognitive process?

According to Bellezza , committing information to memory is important in the early stages of learning something new, therefore, it is essential for students to be able to work in an environment conducive to learning. Can students effectively remember what they have learned when they study while listening to music? If students insist upon listening to music while studying, can any type of music actually enhance learning, and is any type of music particularly harmful to learning and memory? Banbury, Macken, Tremblay, and Jones reviewed the body of literature relating to audio distraction and short-term memory (STM).

Irrelevant sounds were especially disruptive when a sequence of changing sounds was played. The most important conclusion of the review seems to be that the effect of irrelevant noise depended on whether or not remembering items in a particular order in the memory task was important. Irrelevant sounds tended to greatly disrupt ongoing recall but had a minimal effect on free recall. Salame and Baddeley also looked at the effects of noise, particularly music, on STM. They compared the effects of vocal and instrumental music on STM.

Participants were asked to remember number sequences while either vocal or instrumental music played in the background. They were asked to focus on the numbers rather than on the music. Recall was better for participants who listened to the instrumental music that for participants who listened to vocal music. The words to the music distracted the participants, but instrumental music was not distracting. In an experiment that took place in a more academic setting by Tucker and Bushman , it was correctly hypothesized that rock and roll music has a detrimental effect on mathematical, verbal and reading comprehension.

They administered portions of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Test (ACT) to students in two groups; one group listened to rock and roll music, while another took the test in silence. It was found that rock and roll music worsened mathematical and verbal abilities, but had no impact on reading comprehension. Not only can music serve as a distraction, but it can also produce anxiety in students facing a cognitive task. Smith and Morris studied the effects of music on test performance.

They used the Digits Backward test, (participants read numbers in order and then backwards then try to say/write them in order), to assess performance in participants who were exposed to stimulating music, sedative music, or no music. Music was played as participants acquainted themselves with the numbers in the test. It was found that listening to stimulating music increased emotionality and performance concern among participants who were exposed to stimulating music compared with participants who were exposed to sedative music. Participants in the stimulating music condition performed the worst.

Participants who listened to stimulating music predicted that they would perform poorly on the test. The highest levels of concentration were reported among the no music group. This study also found that music preference was positively correlated to test performance. All of the participants in the experiment preferred the sedative music over the stimulating music. If participants liked the music, it aided their performance; if they did not like the music, it distracted them, therefore hindering performance. It has been found that music does in fact have an influence on mood.

Does mood really affect learning? Studies show that it indeed does. It is highly difficult to learn things when you have a million things going on in one’s mind. The music most people call classical is different from other kinds of music for it has a more complex musical structure. Researchers think the complexity of classical music is what primes the brain to solve spatial problems more quickly. Listening to classical music may have different effects on the brain than listening to other types of music. Classical music affects the brain’s organization and abilities, through its melody and rhythm.

The rhythm raises the level of serotonin produced in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, involved in the transmission of nerve impulses that helps maintaining joyous feelings. When the brain produces serotonin, tension is eased. In fact depression is a consequence of the scarce production of this hormone. Besides, “why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? ” (Michael Torke). Rhythm is also an important aspect of music to study when looking at responses to music. There are two responses to rhythm.

These responses are hard to separate because they are related, and one of these responses cannot exist without the other. These responses are (1) the actual hearing of the rhythm and (2) the physical response to the rhythm. Rhythm organizes physical movements and is very much related to the human body. For example, the body contains rhythms in the heartbeat, while walking, during breathing, etc. Another example of how rhythm orders movement is an autistic boy who could not tie his shoes. He learned how on the second try when the task of tying his shoes was put to a song.

The rhythm helped organize his physical movements in time. Responses to music are easy to be detected in the human body. Classical music from the baroque period causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily. Also, baroque music is known to decrease blood pressure and enhance the ability to learn. Music affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves. Music also affects breathing rate and electrical resistance of the skin.

It has been observed to cause the pupils to dilate, increase blood pressure, and increase the heart rate. In 1982, researchers from the University of North Texas performed a three-way test on postgraduate students to see if music could help in memorizing vocabulary words. The students were divided into three groups. Each group was given three tests – a pretest, a posttest, and a test a week after the first two tests. All of the tests were identical. Group 1 was read the words with Handel’s Water Music in the background. They were also asked to imagine the words.

Group 2 was read the same words also with Handel’s Water Music in the background. Group 2 was not asked to imagine the words. Group 3 was only read the words, was not given any background music, and was also not asked to imagine the words. The results from the first two tests showed that groups 1 and 2 had much better scores than group 3. The results from the third test, a week later, showed that group 1 performed much better than groups 2 or 3 however, simply using music while learning does not absolutely guarantee recall but can possibly improve it.

Background music in itself is not a part of the learning process, but it does enter into memory along with the information learned. Recall is better when the same music used for learning is used during recall. Also, tempo appears to be a key of music’s effect on memory. Many psychologists’ research has found varying effects that music has on our test taking ability. (e. g. , Blanch, Bowman, Mohler, 1992; Cockerton et al. , 1997; Furnham ; Strbac, 2002). Some research has found that it was beneficial to our test-taking ability (Cockerton et al. 1997) and others have found that music is just as distracting as noise (Furnham ; Strbac, 2002). Though both of these studies used different types of music, and did not compare their results to the studies that used different types of music. The study in which the researchers found that music was just as distracting as noise they used grunge rock. In the study in which the researchers found that music was beneficial to an individual’s thinking, the music used was solely designed to improve concentration.

They used music from the software package Koan Plus, which created music on the spot based on Japanese Buddhist philosophy that encourages meditation for the quest of understanding (Cockerton, et. al. , 1997). So the results found, that music is beneficial to test-taking abilities, was not a big surprise, the overall study had a lot of power. The problem with many of the studies which examine the effects of music on cognition is that they do not include other types of music, and see music as one type of music.

Also in both studies the music used was arbitrary to the participants’ personal preference of music. It is obvious that music is as old as the human race in this world. It is a part of daily life, and it is meaningful regardless of whether it is traditional or international. People were listening to the different sounds and the types of rhythms even when they had not fully developed this modern world of noise and rhythms and music. Even those who think they are not musical people are able to differentiate between the rhythms and beats of music carefully and enthusiastically.

As a great man once said, “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul. ” Work Cited Blanch, William R. , Bowman, Kelly, Mohler, Lauri A. “Music-dependent memory in———————–immediate and delayed recall. ” Memory and Cognition, 20, 21-28. (1992). Cockerton, Tracey, Moore, Simon, Norman, Dale. “Cognitive test performance and ———————-background music. ” Perceptual & Motor Skills, 85, 1435-1438. (1997). Furnham, Adrian, Strbac, Lisa. Music is as distracting as noise: The differential distraction————-of background music and noise on the cognitive test performance of introverts and —————-extraverts. ” Ergonomics, 45, 203-217. (2002). Roy E. , Sarah. Missouri Western State University. “Effects of Different Types of Music on the ——-Cognitive Process” (2009) Retrieved February 2011 from —————————————————http://clearinghouse. missouriwestern. edu/manuscripts/304. php O’Donell, Laurence. “Music And The Brain” (1999) Music Power. Retrieved February 2011 from ——http://www. cerebromente. org. br/n15/mente/musica. html


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