Music & The Brain; How sound effects your body and mind

You Are What you…Listen To?


On an individual level, its been well known for a while that certain personalities attract certain tastes in music, but did know that this individualistic theory also works in reverse. In a study conducted by Diana Boer titles ‘How Shared {references in Music Create Bonds Between People’ in 2011, couples who ‘knew each other well’ were asked to assign personality traits to their partner based on their varying individual music tastes.

The study used five personality traits for the test: openness to experience, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability.

Interestingly, some traits were more accurately predicted based on the person’s listening habits than others. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion, and emotional stability were the easiest to guess correctly. Conscientiousness, on the other hand, wasn’t obvious based on musical taste.

Here is also a breakdown of how the different genres correspond to our personality, according to a study conducted at Heriot-Watt University:

Of course, generalizing based on this study is very hard. However looking at the science of introverts and extroverts, there is some clear overlap.


The Sound Of Productivity


It turns out that a moderate noise level is a sweet spot for creativity. Even more than low noise levels, ambient noise apparently gets our creative juices flowing, and doesn’t put us off the way high levels of noise do.

The way this works is that moderate noise levels increase processing difficulty which promotes abstract processing, leading to higher creativity. In other words, when we struggle (just enough) to process things as we normally would, we resort to more creative approaches.

In high noise levels, however, our creative thinking is impaired because we’re overwhelmed and struggle to process information efficiently.

This is very similar to how temperature and lighting can affect our productivity, where paradoxically a slightly more crowded place can be beneficial.


Music & Motor Skills


It is well known that learning to play music is a task well-worth learning, but there are some hidden benefits that aren’t always that obvious. One study showed that children who had three years or more musical instrument training performed better than those who didn’t learn an instrument in auditory discrimination abilities and fine motor skills.

They also tested better on vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning skills, which involve understanding and analysing visual information, such as identifying relationships, similarities, and differences between shapes and patterns.

These two areas, in particular, are quite removed from musical training as we imagine it, so it’s fascinating to see how learning to play an instrument can help kids develop such a wide variety of important skills.


Music & Excercise


Since the invention of the portable cassette tape player, the benefits of music and physical exercise have become very well known and have penetrated mainstream culture, but perhaps there’s more to this relationship between sound and movement than is widely known…

Research on the effects of music during exercise has been done for years. In 1911, an American researcher, Leonard Ayres, found that cyclists pedaled faster while listening to music than they did in silence.

This happens because listening to music can drown out our brain’s cries of fatigue. As our body realizes we’re tired and wants to stop exercising, it sends signals to the brain to stop for a break. Listening to music competes for our brain’s attention, and can help us to override those signals of fatigue.

Not only can we push through the pain to exercise longer and harder when we listen to music, but it can actually help us to use our energy more efficiently. A 2012 study showed that cyclists who listened to music required 7% less oxygen to do the same work as those who cycled in silence.

For all music-related inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Music Mart today!