“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
You’ve probably heard someone saying that if you listen to a certain type of music you tend to be this or that. I guess that in most of the cases, you’ve never heard a scientific or, at least, a plausible explanation for this argument. Now, here’s what I got.
Meet Dr. Rauscher
Dr. Frances Rauscher and her colleagues from the University of California, Irvine have conducted a study back in 1993 where they have showed that listening to Mozart music have led to an increase in visual and spatial learning for those who participated in the experiment.
Their study was on 36 students who have obtained higher scores (an average of 8 to 9 more points) on the Stanford-Binet test after listening to Mozart for 10 minutes.
The subjects have participated in three conditions. The first one was to listen to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K.448. The second condition was for the subjects to listen (for 10 minutes) to relaxation instructions designated to decrease their blood pressure, while the third condition was to sit in silence for 10 minutes.
Immediately after each of the exposures to the conditions, the subjects were tested using the Stanford-Binet scale of intelligence to see how their spatial reasoning skills have changed.
The exposure to Mozart’s music resulted in scores averaging 119 points. The exposure to relaxation instructions lead to scores averaging 111 points, while the exposure to silence lead to scores averaging 110 points.
I know there have been some critics to this study, but I also find interesting the implications and the hype this study has caused. For example, in 1998 the governor of Georgia has issued a bill where every mother of newborns would receive a CD with classical music. The same year, Florida daycare centers would be required by state laws to play at least an hour of classical music each day.
I have been personally interested in these findings after reading Change your Brain, Change your life, where Dr. Daniel Amen explains that exposure to some types of music can be a door opener inside the human mind, while exposure to other types of music can be extremely destructive. He particularly points out to the youngsters listening to heavy metal music or music with negative content, who end up in Rehab centers.
To be psychologically sound, I would dig deeper before making such conclusions. I would not say that one implies the other, such as: all those who listen to heavy metal => destroy their lives, but we all know that, in part, music can really affect our mental state.
There’s another study called The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, in which Dr. Thomas Verny conducts several experiments and he shows the reactions of fetuses while listening to Mozart and Vivaldi music.
His findings point out that the heart rates and the kicks of the small ones are fewer and milder while on this type of music. The same heart rates and kicks are more intense and powerful while the fetuses are exposed to violent music.
How it influences me
I know this information for about a year now, and ever since there have been periods when I analyzed the way I react to music in different situations.
I listen to all types of music, but I particularly like vocal trance music. It’s a type of music that relaxes me a lot and boosts my mood especially when I’m driving. I tend to be more calm and more focused when listening to trance.
However, I have other CDs in my car that I plug-in for diversification. I’ve noticed that when I listen to Metallica for example (Wherever I may Roam – love this song) I’m more energetic (as my brain increases the production of endorphines) and I tend to force the acceleration pedal. I don’t want to imply that I start hating everything around while on Metallica, but there’s a definite shift in my mood and behavior.
While working I listen to chill music which is productivity boosting for me because it creates a special environment powered by sounds that are so enjoyable by my ears and my brain. As I’m constantly exposed to certain songs, I tend to like them more. No wonder!
If you’ve been on my blog for a while now, you may know that I love reading practical books. The best catalyst to my brain is relaxation music (such as this one) as well as classical music. The exposure to this kind of music while reading tends to put me in a mental state where I’m very focused and I better understand what I’m reading. Or at least that is what I perceive! 🙂
Think about it this way. When you listen to songs that you know for a long time, some memories are revived along with those songs.
In the past, as you were exposed to a particular song, your mind has recorded other elements from that particular moment in time, such as: the persons who you were with, the places where you where, how you were feeling, etc. All those feelings come back together and make you feel the same you felt in the past.
Try listening to songs that bring back good memories.
As I’m writing now, I listen to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos. I know that music is closely connected to our souls and our memories, so why not nurture them with quality music?
I don’t say that you should do it at all times, especially if you are fan of other more aggressive kind of music. But you should at least listen to some classical music every once in a while.
Have you paid particular attention to how music affects your mood? What do you listen when you’re driving and how does it make you feel? What’s the kind of music you enjoy the most? Have you noticed how it influences your behavior? I’m really interested in what you have to say, so please talk to me in either of the comment sections below.
Check out my playlist as well.
1. The study of Dr. Rauscher: here and here
2. Daniel Amen – Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness
3. Thomas Verny – The Secret Life of the Unborn Child: How can you prepare your Baby for a Happy, Healthy Life
4. Dr. Joe Dispenza – Evolve your Brain: The Science of Changing your Mind
5. Binaural Music
6. Playlist: Mozart K.V. 448, Female Vocal Trance, Relaxation Tibetan Music, Chillout – Work Music, Piano Classics – 6 Hours
7. Photo: here