The idea that music makes you smarter received considerable attention from scientists and the media. Listening to music or playing an instrument can actually make you learn better. And research confirms this.
The influence of Mozart’s music on brain activity in the process of learning
Spatial-Temporal Task Performance Jausovec N, Jausovec K, Gerlic I. The influence of Mozart’s music on brain activity in the process of learning. Jausovec N, Jausovec K, Gerlic I. Clin Neurophysiol. 2006 Dec;117(12):2703-14. PubMed
Objective: The study investigated the influence Mozart’s music has on brain activity in the process of learning. A second objective was to test priming explanation of the Mozart effect.
Methods: In Experiment 1 individuals were first trained in how to solve spatial rotation tasks, and then solved similar tasks. Fifty-six students were divided into 4 groups: a control one–CG who prior to and after training relaxed, and three experimental groups: MM–who prior to and after training listened to music; MS–who prior to training listened to music and subsequently relaxed; and SM–who prior to training relaxed and afterward listened to music. The music used was the first movement of Mozart’s sonata (K. 448). In Experiment 2, thirty-six respondents were divided into three groups: CG, MM (same procedure as in Experiment 1), and BM–who prior to and after training listened to Brahms’ Hungarian dance No. 5. In both experiments the EEG data collected during problem solving were analyzed using the methods of event-related desynchronization/synchronization (ERD/ERS) and approximated entropy (ApEn).
Results: In the first experiment the respondents of the MM, MS, and SM groups showed a better task-performance than did the respondents of the CG group. Individuals of the MM group displayed less complex EEG patterns and more alpha band synchronization than did respondents of the other three groups. In Experiment 2 individuals who listened to Mozart showed a better task performance than did the respondents of the CG and BM groups. They displayed less complex EEG patterns and more lower-1 alpha and gamma band synchronization than did the respondents of the BM group.
Conclusions: Mozart’s music, by activating task-relevant brain areas, enhances the learning of spatio-temporal rotation tasks.
Significance: The results support priming explanation of the Mozart effect.