You hear it everywhere you go. In the car. In restaurants. In stores. Music is everywhere. Most parents are already strongly rooted in Team Mozart. And why not? Dozens of studies have shown that listening to classical music has a positive effect on infants’ intelligence levels. But recent results have also determined that music can have just as much a positive effect on children, teenagers, and adults as it can on babies.
You know those days when All By Myself is playing on the radio, and it seems like even the stroller-pushing moms walking down the sidewalk are sad? It turns out that your brain is actually interpreting those faces as sadder because of the music. One recent study showed that the type of music we are listening to, whether it be happy or sad, affects how adults as well as children perceive expressions on neutral faces. So, when something sad is playing, our brains are more likely to interpret neutral faces as sad.
When listening to music, the sound level is just as important as the genre. Studies have shown that loud and soft music can stifle creative impulses. Moderate levels of music are perfect for times of creativity, especially if you don’t know it well. This sweet spot increases processing difficulty in the brain and switches it over to abstract processing, which, consequentially, leads to higher levels of creativity.
A recent study showed that children who have taken music lessons for three or more years not only have better motor skills later in life but also test better in vocabulary and non-verbal reasoning skills.
Did you know that playing unfamiliar or uninteresting music can help you concentrate when you’re driving? In fact, the same study showed that silence is less conducive to focusing, especially in the car.But classical music also tends to improve visual attention in adults. In a study done on stroke patients, it showed that classical music increased visual attention, once again, better than silence.
Listening to music helps while exercising, and not just because it’s entertaining. Fast paced music, especially pop and dubstep, competes for attention in our brains with fatigue alerts. So, while you’re brain is trying to process, your body’s pain signals are being ignored, and you benefit from increased stamina…until you take out your earbuds and realize that you’re dying.
So the next time you’re sitting at home or driving in the car, turn on some music. Everyone will reap the benefits!
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