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Many scientists have long held that music has an impact on cognitive function, with some studies suggesting that certain types of music may be more effective for certain tasks.
For example, classical music has been shown to positively affect spatial-temporal skills, such as those used in math and engineering.
Listening to music with a steady beat, such as electronic dance music (EDM) or drumming music, has been found to improve physical performance and endurance.
Music with a slower tempo, such as soft rock or R&B, has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve relaxation.
One study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that jazz musicians showed increased activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, an area associated with creativity when improvising.
Other studies at John Hopkins have found that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and improve sleep quality, mood, and memory. In addition, music has been shown to activate diverse networks in the brain. This is a good thing!
While the effects of music on the brain and behavior can vary from person to person, the following types of music have been found to be particularly effective for studying.
Binaural beats are a type of sound therapy that involves the use of two different frequencies played through headphones, which causes the brain to create its own frequency in response.
This type of music has been shown to have a variety of cognitive and physical effects, including improved focus and concentration, relaxation, and altered states of consciousness.
One study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that binaural beats increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area associated with higher-level cognition, during a task requiring attention. Another study published found that binaural beat therapy was effective in reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder.
While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind binaural beats and their effects on the brain, they have emerged as a promising tool for improving cognitive function and addressing a range of mental health issues.
Isochronic tones are a type of sound therapy that involves the use of a single frequency turned on and off at a rapid pace.
Research has shown that the brain functions at its best during the silence between these sounds, making them effective for improving focus and concentration.
Meditation music is designed to relax the mind and body, making it an effective tool for reducing stress and improving focus.
In addition to its benefits for studying, daily meditation has been shown to have overall positive effects on performance in school and other areas of life.
There is some evidence to suggest that nature sounds can have a relaxing effect on the nervous system.
A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that participants who listened to recorded sounds of nature, including rain and waves, had reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reported feeling more relaxed than those who listened to urban noise.
Another study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning found that participants who took a walk in a natural environment had lower levels of anxiety and depressed mood compared to those who took a walk in an urban environment.
Overall, the research suggests that nature sounds may have a relaxing and focus-enhancing effect on the brain and may be a useful tool for improving cognitive function and reducing stress.
The so-called Mozart Effect, which suggests that listening to classical music can improve cognitive function, has been widely studied.
While the effect has been debated, some studies have found that students who listen to classical music while studying perform better on quizzes than those who do not.
The Mozart effect is a scientific theory that listening to Mozart may boost your IQ test scores. Popular science versions of the theory make the claim that listening to Mozart makes you smarter or that early childhood exposure to classical music has a beneficial effect on mental development.
There is evidence that instrumental music, or music without lyrics, may be more effective for tasks requiring concentration than music with lyrics.
A study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology found that students who listened to instrumental music while working on a task involving visual attention had faster reaction times and made fewer errors compared to those who listened to music with lyrics or no music.
Another study published in the journal Music Perception found that participants who listened to instrumental music while performing a task involving working memory had improved performance compared to those who listened to music with lyrics or silence.
Music Perception is an interdisciplinary journal that publishes research on the perception and cognition of music in a variety of contexts, including composing, improvising, playing, performing, recalling, recognizing, teaching, learning, and responding to music through single or multiple modalities.
The journal covers both basic and applied science, and includes empirical reports, theoretical papers, and reviews. Its scope encompasses a wide range of topics related to the study of music perception and cognition.
Instrumental music may be particularly useful for tasks requiring sustained attention, as it allows the brain to focus on the melody rather than being distracted by lyrics. However, it’s important to note that the effects of music on cognitive function can vary from person to person, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Are you feeling down or lacking motivation?
Turn up the tunes!
Listening to music that puts you in a good mood can boost your energy and focus, making it an essential tool for tackling any task, whether it’s hitting the books or hitting the gym.
Just be sure to choose music without lyrics if you’re prone to distraction – it’ll help you stay on track and get things done.
Experiment with different types of music to find what works best for you and make every moment a little brighter.
The effects of music on the brain and behavior can vary from person to person, certain types of music have been found to be particularly effective for improving focus and concentration while studying.
These include binaural beats, isochronic tones, meditation music, nature and rain sounds, classical music, instrumentals, and feel-good music.
You should be able to find plenty of these styles of music on these awesome free music apps.
The first time Nicholas went to a live gig, 31 years ago, it turned out to be an Iron Maiden secret gig and he became hooked on the music scene. He was one of the founding writers for Astro Zombie a heavy metal and new world techno-inspired zine and his interview with Rob Caggiano of Anthrax brought in over 300,000 readers. He’s based out of Southeast Asia now, but his love of music is as strong and diverse as ever.