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7 Different Effects of Music on the Brain, Backed by Scientific Studies

Classical music for attention

A Stanford study found that listening to classical music increased scores on attention tests. It could be due to the lack of lyrics. 

Other studies show that any type of background music without words increases your concentration.

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7 Different Effects of Music on the Brain, Backed by Scientific Studies

7 Different Effects of Music on the Brain, Backed by Scientific Studies

https://www.learning-mind.com/effects-of-music-on-the-brain/

learning-mind.com

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Key Ideas

Music helps creativity

One of the most remarkable effects of music on the brain is that it stimulates the release of dopamine, which is a brain mediator that lifts your spirit. We produce 9% more dopamine from the music we particularly like.

What does that have to do with creativity? There's evidence that dopamine helps the creative effort. 

Ambient for creativity

Moderate noise cultivates creativity, too loud or fast music leaves you hyperstimulated, while complete silence makes your brain bored. 

Music and exercise

Upbeat music makes you feel more energetic while you are exercising. It shifts your focus from the intensity of the exercise. Your body also needs less oxygen during the workout.

The best tempo for exercise is 145BPM. Faster music does not produce more stimulation.

Classical music for attention

A Stanford study found that listening to classical music increased scores on attention tests. It could be due to the lack of lyrics. 

Other studies show that any type of background music without words increases your concentration.

Classical music for memory

Participants from a study scored higher on a memory test while listening to classical music than those that listened to rap music.

Music builds long-term memory

Music builds powerful emotional connections in your brain. This is especially true in dementia patients, where studies suggested that music helps them stay more mentally alert.

Metal for anger issues

Studies found that metal music calms people with anger issues and makes them feel better.

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The music you should listen to for improved productivity
The music you should listen to for improved productivity

....depends on a few factors:

  • How many lyrics the song has.
  • How familiar you are with the song.
  • How repetitive the task
Music between tasks could boost productivity

Although there may be detrimental effects of listening to music while working, listening to music in between tasks can boost your mental performance and the ability to concentrate on a task for long periods of time.

Music familiarity is best for focus

Certain regions in our brain—which evoke strong emotions and improve concentration—are more active when we listen to familiar rather than unfamiliar music.

Plus, when we listen to unfamiliar music we’re more likely to lose focus, while adjusting to the new sound.

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Happy/sad music

Our brains respond differently to happy or sad music.

One study revealed that participants interpreted a neutral expression as happy or sad to match the tone of the music they heard. 

Ambient noise can improve creativity

A moderate noise level is ideal to improve our creativity. It increases the processing difficulty which stimulates abstract processing, leading to higher creativity. 
High noise levels impair our creative thinking because we feel overwhelmed and struggle to process information properly.

Music and personality

Different genres correspond to our personality. For instance:

  • Blues and Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
  • Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease
  • Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle
  • Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease

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Music for better productivity and focus
Music for better productivity and focus
  • Classical music: Songs with no lyrics are often considered the finest form of the craft, always a popular choice.
  • Electronic music is repetitive, ...
Familiar songs are best for focus

It’s best to listen to music you are familiar with if you need intense focus for a project

New music is surprising; since you don’t know what to expect, you are inclined to listen closely to see what comes next.

Lyrics can be distracting

For activities that don’t require concentration, music with lyrics has some benefits. But with immersive tasks, lyrics are especially destructive to our focus.

Trying to engage in language-related tasks ( e.g. writing ) while listening to lyrics would be akin to holding a conversation while another person talks over you… while also strumming a guitar.

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