Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Uplifting music can boost mental capacity

Date:
March 18, 2013
Source:
Northumbria University
Summary:
Uplifting concertos from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons can boost mental alertness, according to new research.

Uplifting concertos from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons can boost mental alertness, according to research from Northumbria University.

The findings, which are published in this month's Experimental Psychology, show that the uplifting first movement, in particular, is capable of enhancing attention and memory.

In the experiment a group of 14 young adults were given a mental concentration task to perform. They were asked to press the space bar on a keyboard when a green square appeared on screen and ignore different coloured circles and squares that appeared intermittently. The participants carried out this task both in silence and while listening to each of the four concertos while their brain activity was measured using EEG brain imaging.

Results showed that participants responded correctly faster when listening to the uplifting Spring concerto. When listening to the concerto, the average response time in performing the task was 393.8 milliseconds as opposed to 408.1 milliseconds when the task was carried out in silence. This response time rose to 413.3 milliseconds when they listened to the slower and more sombre Autumn music, therefore showing a decrease in mental capacity.

The most important aspect of the data was that the Spring concerto gave rise to enhancement of a brain measure related to emotional responsiveness.

Psychologist Dr Leigh Riby said: "The Spring movement enhanced overall activity within the brain but had an exaggerated effect on the area of the brain that's important for emotional processing. It seemed to give rise to particular imagery in the brain and evoke positive, contented feelings which translated into higher levels of cognitive functioning."

Dr Riby suggests that the Spring movement is particularly special and could be used in therapeutic settings and is, in fact, quite a familiar piece to most people as it has been used successfully in marketing to induce mood and influence behaviour.

He also found that the key in which the music was written had no impact on brain performance. While the Spring concerto, which is written in a major key enhanced cognitive function, the Autumn movement, which is also written in a major key, did not.

He added: "The current study provides evidence that there is an indirect effect of music on cognition that is created by mood, alertness and emotion.

"This experiment shows that cognitive capacity is enhanced when pleasant and arousing stimuli are introduced."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northumbria University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Leigh M. Riby. The Joys of Spring. Experimental Psychology (formerly Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie), 2013; 60 (2): 71 DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000166

Cite This Page:

Northumbria University. "Uplifting music can boost mental capacity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318104950.htm>.
Northumbria University. (2013, March 18). Uplifting music can boost mental capacity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318104950.htm
Northumbria University. "Uplifting music can boost mental capacity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318104950.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins