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Music and Cognitive Abilities

Cognitive functioning plays an important role in the well being of an individual .It refers to multiple mental abilities including learning, reasoning, remembering, problem solving, decision making etc. Preserving cognitive functioning is an integral component of maintaining a healthy ,active and independent lifestyle especially for older adults. The relationship between social engagement and cognitive functioning in older adulthood is found to be bidirectional .That is, cognitive decline may cause a reduction in social engagement because successfully maintaining interpersonal social relationships requires cognitive processing.

Studies have proven that music listening and music lessons can lead to short term and long term cognitive benefits. The mechanisms driving the intellectual benefits of music lessons remain obscure. This is because music is a domain that improves abstract reasoning, acquiring musical knowledge is similar to acquiring a second language. This may be one of the reasons , children should be exposed to the practice of music at a younger age.

Music has been an integral part of our lives. Is there any creature on this earth that doesn’t love music?
Music plays an important role in improving our cognitive abilities. Its therapeutic role is unbelievable.

A study was conducted on the effects of different types of music on cognitive abilities in Western Connecticut State University. This study was based on the Mozart effect, which claims that listening to classical music has an advantage over other types of music on learning. This study comprised of two experiments which tested 54 college students aged 18 to 50.In experiment 1,it was hypothesized that participants exposed to Mozart would score significantly higher on a listening comprehension test than those exposed to rock music/ silence.In experiment 2, it was hypothesized that listening to rock music would result in lower reading comprehension test scores than classical music/ non music groups.

Research studies have shown that musical training has been a means of improving cognitive and brain health during development. Children who take music lessons outperform their musically untrained counterparts in tests of verbal memory and reading ability.

Many students choose to listen to a preferred genre of music when they study. A study by Smith and Morris explained the effects of sedative and stimulative music. Stimultive music is a stronger distractor and obstructs cognitive processing more than sedative music does.

A study conducted by Hallman ,Price and Katsarou, supported the fact that improved performance in the presence of music might be directly related to the type of music listened to. Thirty two undergrad students from twenty to forty one years from University Of Maryland, Baltimore County at Shady Grove, participated in this study. It was based on the impact of different genres of music played at different volume levels on cognitive performance. Findings revealed Intensity of Music rather than the type of music matters the most, when it comes to cognitive performance.

Memory is one of the cognitive skills most affected by aging. Studies show that listening to music improves cognitive skills such as fluency, working memory, recognition memory. Musicians have been shown to have a greater cognitive reserve than non musicians and hence their memory would be less compromised over the years.

A better understanding of the protective effect that social engagement has on cognitive functioning is vital for designing solutions or interventions targeting declines in cognitive
ability in older adulthood.

MUSIC in the treatment of post Traumatic Brain Injury patients Music therapy can induce structural white and gray matter neuroplasticity in post TBI brain and helps in improving executive functions. A combination of physical activity and music has positive effects on dementia patients.

Listening to music while exercising has proven to increase scores on a verbal fluency test among cardiac rehabilitation patients. Various studies suggest that a little music with exercise boosts brain power.

Music plays its part but apart from that ,a well balanced social and personal life with healthy food and exercise will yield a good cognitive function in the long term.

By Dr Swathy Elangovan M.B.B.S

1.Influence of a multidimensional music based exercise program on selected cognitive and motor skills in dementia: A pilot study A. Prinze, A Schumacher, K.Witte, German Journal of Exercise and Sports research.; link.springer.com

2.Neurological Music therapy rebuilds structural connector after Traumatic Brain Injury : secondary analysis from a Randomized Controlled Trial Aleksi J Sihvonen, Sini Tuuli Siponkoski, Noelia Martinez
Molina, Sari Laitinen, Milla Holman, Mirjam Alford. Linda Kuusela, Johanna Pekka, Sanna Koskinen, Teppo Sarkamo. ;pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

3.A Little Music with Exercise Boosts Brain Power: Ohio state university, science daily.com

4.Musical instrument practice predicts white matter microstructure and cognitive abilities in childhood, Psyche Loui ,Lauren B.Raine, Charles H Hillman; pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

5.The effects of different types of music on cognitive abilities. Laurel Harmon, Kristen Troester, Taryn Pickwick, Giovanna Pelosi.

6.Impact of listening to music on cognitive performance, Arielle S.Dolegui, inquiriesjournal.com

7.Cognitive benefits from a musical activity in older adults Veronika Diaz Abraham, Favio shifres, Nadia Justel.

8.Music and Cognitive Abilities .E.Glenn Schellenberg University of Toronto, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.



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