Music Changes the Way We Think, Say British Scientists

Posted on May 15, 2014 | by Jason Walsh

It’s no secret that music can alter one’s mood—but can it also alter the way we think? That’s what British psychologists are asking, after the release of a study which found that musical training can increase blood flow to the left side of the brain.

In a study conducted by scientists at the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool, 14 volunteer musicians and eight non-musicians were asked to perform a series of music and word-generation tasks. The study showed that the musicians used the left sides of their brains to perform both the music and language tasks, while no correlation in brain activity was observed when the non-musicians completed the tasks.

But when the non-musicians were given brief music lessons, researches saw an increase in blood flow to the left side of the brain while utilizing language and music skills.

The results suggest that the areas of the brain that control language and art skills share common circulatory pathways.

Amy Spray, a researcher who worked on the study, called the shift in blood flow “fascinating.”

Based on the study, said Spray, “we can assume that musical training results in a rapid change in the cognitive mechanisms utilized for music perception and these shared mechanisms are usually employed for language."

The results of the study were presented last week at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society.

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