Thursday, 13 August 2015

Scientists Discovered Something Amazing About Musicians’ Brains

The list of benefits from learning a musical instrument is constantly growing. A recent study conducted at the University of Texas showed that musicians may have far more well-developed long-term memories compared to non-musicians. We've known that learning a musical instrument has a significant positive impact on short term memory, linguistic abilities, and spatiotemporal faculties, but this study has found the first strong evidence in regards to long-term memory. "What we wanted to know is whether there are differences between pictorial and verbal tasks and whether any advantages extend to long-term memory," said Heekyeong Park, assistant professor of psychology and leader of the study. "If proven, those advantages could represent an intervention option to explore for people with cognitive challenges."   To study the impact of playing a musical instrument on long-term memory, they listed visual and verbal items to a group of musicians, and a group of non-musicians. Their short term memory was tested by showing both groups similar items and asking them to identify which items they had already seen. Then, after the session, the groups were asked to take a series of tests on recalling the items shown to study the group's long term memory.    Park measured participants' neural responses with electroencephalography (EEG). Trained musicians who had been playing classical music for more than 15 years performed far better than non-musicians on the working memory tests. In long-term memory tests, musicians registered increased sensitivity with regards to memory for pictures.   Park believes that classical musicians experience parsing complex musical scores explains the boost. It stands to reason: a musician's craft is all about memory — whether it's remembering a score or having a song drilled into your muscle memory. But though the data is strong, it's still inconclusive. She plans to repeat the study with more musicians to dig deeper into the reasons behind the findings.   Researchers hope to test more musicians soon to strengthen the findings. Whatever the mechanism involved, Park said the new research is important because music is helpful for long-term memory for non-verbal events and "we are all surrounded by non verbal events." "Our work is adding evidence that music training is a good way to improve cognitive abilities," - Park Brain-Music Connection - Music and Memory As we all know from hearing that song associated with a first love or leaving home for good, music is profoundly linked to personal memories. In fact, our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. Even for persons with severe dementia, music can tap deep emotional recall.For individuals suffering from Alzheimers, memory for thingsnames, places, factsis compromised, but memories from our teenage years can be well-preserved. Via Music has big brain benefits compared to other leisure pursuits Musical instrumental training, when compared to other activities, may reduce the effects of memory decline and cognitive aging (Medical Xpress) -- It turns out mom was right. Music lessons are good for you, and those benefits may last a lifetime. This is the second [...]

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