Do you want to exercise your brain, but hate mathematics and puzzles? Try music! Researchers at premier institutions like Johns-Hopkins and Ashford University are paying attention the effect music has on our brains, and their findings are worth noting.
They posit that music is mathematical, although we don’t realize that when we are listening to it. When we hear lyrics and rhythm and melody, our brains are analyzing structure and relationships and composition.
How Does It Work?
Music is, in its purest form, a series of strategic vibrations. These vibrations make their way into our ear canals, tickling the eardrum as they pass. This tickle is then converted to a form of electrical messaging that is sent to our brain stem. Our brain stems, amazingly enough, translate that message back into sound, which we interpret as music.
Each new song we listen to sends different vibrations down our ear canal, which means that our brain is consistently analyzing new patterns, translating them, and converting them into auditory messages. The work being conducted stimulates specific brain functions like auditory processing, learning, and memory.
Why Is It Good For Me?
Research has shown that music is capable of inducing surprising physiological results in humans. It improves your memory and your sleep quality, as well as lowers anxiety levels and blood pressure. But what is truly fascinating is music’s ability to improve your mood.
As our brain is calculating what auditory message to send us, it is also anticipating our reaction to that message! The electrical signals automatically evoke a response in what’s known as our pleasure centers. These centers are responsible for the release of dopamine, which induces a feeling of happiness. The functionality of our brains also allows them to reference memories and previous neurological pathways to determine where the pleasurable peaks are in the music, if there are any, and trigger the release of dopamine early as preparation for those peaks.
Does It Matter What Kind of Music I Listen To?
The short answer is no. As long as you enjoy the genre you’ve chosen, your brain will respond appropriately. The long answer, however, is a bit different.
Certain types of music are better than others when it comes to performing specific activities. If you’d like to study, a task that can require intense concentration, experts recommend soothing music or instrumental pieces. If you are trying to prepare yourself for a sporting event or physical activity, upbeat genres are the way to go.
If you’re merely looking for mental exercise, you can listen to the genre of your choice. Your brain will experience a healthy workout as it perceives and interprets the music regardless of which type you choose.