Music And The Brain: How Does Music Affect The Brain?

Music And The Brain: How Does Music Affect The Brain?

While there is not a definite answer yet, those trained in the science of the mind and behavior, and other scientists, are slowly beginning to develop theories as to why music might have an effect on intelligence.

Music is so universal that almost everyone listens to it. Every known culture in the world has music. It is a form of art and a way of expressing emotions without words. It has been proven that music influences humans both in good and bad ways, and people perceive and respond to music in different ways. There are many bodily responses to music such as strengthening or weakening emotions from a particular event (such as at a funeral) or affecting people’s memory.

The influence of music on society can be seen clearly from modern history. Thomas Jefferson played the violin for hours at a time while in the process of writing The Declaration of Independence to help him relax enough to write. Albert Einstein, recognized as one of the smartest men who has ever lived, was very fond of music as well and played the violin and piano. Not only was music relaxing to Einstein, but it also helped him with his work on his theories. He would go back and forth from working on a theory to playing a few chords on the piano, jotting something down and then returning to his study. In both cases, music has influenced these well-known people in history, specifically helping them to focus and relax when trying to perform a task.

A number of studies have indicated that listening to Mozart's work may temporarily increase cognitive skills however other studies have found no significant effects. “The Mozart Effect” is a study that includes various hypotheses suggesting that listening to Mozart’s music can increase your intelligence, help you with short-term improvement on certain tasks, or that listening to classical music in early childhood has had a beneficial effect on mental development. This was first started by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis in his 1991 book, “Pourquoi Mozart?” and talked about how classical music stimulates the brain.

It has been found that slow music can slow down your heartbeat and the breathing rate, plus bring down blood pressure. The brain can respond in different ways based off of the order of the music such as from the Baroque and Classical periods. This includes repetition and changes, certain patterns of rhythm, and pitch/contrasts in mood, and all this causes the human mind to perform better when listening to this order of music. King George I of England had problems with memory loss and stress management so he read from the Bible the story of King Saul and recognized that Saul had experienced the same type of problems that he was experiencing. George recognized that Saul overcame his problems by using special music. With this story in mind, King George asked George Frederick Handel to write some special music for him that would help him in the same way that music helped Saul. Handel wrote his Water Music for this purpose- one cannot deny the power of music.

In a recent survey that I created online, I asked friends, family and peers (through Facebook, email and other social media) to answer the questions I asked them. I had surveyed a hundred people of all different ages and from different areas, depending on who took the survey. In my data analysis, eighty-three percent of the people said they listen to classical music, or sometimes listen to it. The next question I asked was how often they listen to classical music and most wrote in answers of once or twice a week and some never listening to classical music at all. Of the hundred people surveyed, sixty-two people said they found classical music helped them focus when performing a certain task. The other thirty-eight people didn’t find classical music to help them focus when performing a task, most adding on that it is actually distracting for them. Forty percent said that they found classical music to be the most relaxing genre of music. The reason I created this survey was to see how connected my friends, family and peers are with classical music.

There are many benefits to listening to classical music. One benefit is that it helps you increase physical performance. When you’re working out, music can make you cycle harder, run faster, boost your endurance, and sometimes improve your overall motivation about exercise. Another benefit is that music can help you get the quality sleep that your body needs because it helps you to relax your body physically while calming your mind. “College students affected by insomnia showed improvement when they substituted random sleep aids with forty-five minutes of classical music therapy” (Health Wire). Classical music has also helped ease chronic pain naturally. People in recovery from surgery, dealing with disability, etc. have been helped to reprogram the brain to focus on the music rather than the physical pain.

Classical music has been proven to improve mood and lower stress. If you are feeling anxious, sad, or out of control, taking a few minutes to stop for a little while and listen to music has helped to control those emotions. Studies have found that it has the same physiological effect of a massage. This technique causes positive chemical reactions within your brain that help with symptoms of stress and depression. But avoid listening to hard music or club beats if your emotions are chaotic since science has proven that they can sometimes make a bad situation worse emotionally. In Germany, they are testing the use of Mozart to lower driver aggression on the nation’s highways.

While there is not a definite answer yet, those trained in the science of the mind and behavior, and other scientists, are slowly beginning to develop theories as to why music might have an effect on intelligence. If anything, classical music has been proven to change some ways our bodies function, and has some effect on how we react to it, based off of studies of many different subjects. Why do we listen to music? We listen for entertainment, relaxation, to tell a story, etc. and so we’re all using music to affect our emotions. The music does affect us even when we don’t realize it. Since music is so universal, even the person reading this article has most likely listened to music and their brain has made some sort of reaction no matter what the music was.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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The 5 People You WON'T Meet In Heaven: Hollywood Edition

Despite their significant influence, they will not be found in Heaven.

Some of you, or none of you, may be familiar with Mitch Albom’s best-seller, The Five People You Meet In Heaven. In the novel, the protagonist meets five people who profoundly influenced his life or vice versa, and he learns about the reasons for their or his own influence.

In 2017, and long before, the following high-profile Hollywood men were accused of sexual misconduct in ranging degrees.

Although these men differ in circumstances and their influence on the United States’ social climate, they all remain individuals who you should not expect to see in Heaven.

1. Bill Cosby

As of June 2017, CNN reported that over 50 women accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct. The allegations against Cosby began as early as 2000, but intensified in October 2014 when comedian Hannibal Buress’ routine went viral, where he alluded to Cosby's misdemeanors, and women began to speak out and identify themselves as those who he abused. The allegations included reports that he would “forcibly grab and kiss” women, and many alleged that they were raped by Cosby. The link between the women who came forward was their confirmation that he drugged them, and then for some that there were periods of time that they could not account for before waking up unclothed or disheveled. As the number of accusers reached the twenties, The Washington Post reported in December 2014 that colleges — including his alma mater, University of Massachusetts at Amherst — severed ties with Cosby. More recently, The New York Times reported that Cosby’s case was declared a mistrial on June 17, 2017, and it was published on Aug. 22, 2017 that the retrial would be postponed until March, five months later than originally planned.

2. Harvey Weinstein

As recently as Dec. 13, 2017, USA Today published an updated list of the 84 accusers who came forth with allegations against Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Weinstein denied the allegations leveled against him, which ranged from propositions for massages to rape, according to USA Today. The one silver-lining to be found following the explosive details published by The New York Times and The New Yorker in October 2017 is the #MeToo movement, which ignited many individuals to share their stories of sexual harassment or assault in the workplace. Nonetheless, Weinstein’s grossly inappropriate actions not only violated dozens of women, but also preyed upon many young women who were trying to enter the entertainment industry and were barely legal.

3. Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey made headlines when Buzzfeed News published an interview on Oct. 30, 2017, where actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey “made a sexual advance towards him when Rapp was 14.” Rapp, who is now 46, claimed the advance occurred during a party at Spacey’s apartment in 1986, and that the older actor laid on top of him. BBC News also reported other men who came forward with allegations of harassment and assault that Spacey directed toward them. Additionally, CNN reported that the “House of Cards” set was a “toxic” environment due to Spacey’s inappropriate behavior aimed toward crew members who worked alongside Spacey on the series. Amidst the accusations and denouncements from other celebrities — and Netflix and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, who refused to work on the final season of “House of Cards” if Spacey was involved and award him a special Emmy award, respectively — Spacey was also condemned for publicly recognizing in an official statement that he “choose[s] now to live as a gay man."

4. Woody Allen

Woody Allen is still a household name despite the allegations from his adopted daughter with Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, that he sexually abused her in 1992 when she was 7-years-old. As Farrow recounted decades ago, she was brought by Allen into the attic, and it was there that he allegedly laid his head on her lap with his face toward her body. Her claims were supported by adult witnesses on the day in question. Vanity Fair reported that on the day in question, one babysitter stated, “Allen and Dylan went missing for 15 or 20 minutes”, another claimed that Farrow was “staring vacantly in the direction of a television set” and a French tutor testified that Farrow was not wearing underpants under her sundress. More recently, Farrow decided to sit down with co-host Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” in a Jan. 18 interview that discussed the allegations. Separately, Allen is also married to Soon-Yi Previn, who he began an affair with while still in a relationship with Previn’s adoptive mother, Mia Farrow. Allen denied that he was in any way a father-figure toward Previn or any of Farrow’s adopted children, according to Salon.

5. Louis C.K.

Following the string of accusations toward men in Hollywood, Louis C.K. was accused by five women on Nov. 9, 2017 of sexual misconduct, according to The New York Times. The first pair of women, comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, recalled Louis C.K. inviting them to his hotel room for a nightcap after a show. He then removed his clothes and masturbated in front of them, after asking if he could take out his penis, which they initially thought was a joke. Other women came forward as well, one stating that during a phone conversation she could hear him masturbating, and another claiming that he asked her if he could masturbate in front of her, which she declined. Louis C.K. later released a statement that “These stories are true.”

Cover Image Credit: Entertainment Tonight

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Spiritual Warfare inside of her Poetic Spirit

"I feel like I'm drowning in my waste of impatience." Mrs. Powercouple

Continuing to type Mrs. Powercouple begins this quest using poetry. 

"I feel like I'm drowning in my waste of impatience. I'm taking the snakes fate for this fake reality I'm now faced with causing my destiny hatred. This snare is impairing my love and care, I ask him to leave and he disappears, then comes back clearing away all the paths paved to my heart. He tells me lies like Mr. P wouldn't waste his time loving a woman like I. Instead I should expect to be alone for the rest of my life. Day and night I await, while I sit alone and pace, faced with this intake of lies. My moods throw in a loop, I'm now confused with which feeling to choose from. If I'm too happy I'll lose it and end up bruised but then I get too hurt and gain enthusiasm from it's intake. Sometimes I misplace my loves steps with my mistakes. Mr. Powercouple deserves heaven but part of my spirit is still fighting with the gate keepers. The sneaky testers, testing my patience, gaining treasures from the pleasures of having a woman's attention. Their pain is my hex because I am blessed and cursed with compassion. If anyone happened to get hurt because of me I would lose my mind. I find myself climbing through this obstacle of time, but with each pull my arm gets cut from the incline. It's like the bars are knives, but with each reach I learn to be stronger. I guess that's where the savage in me is created, because although I am a slave to my sin, I also know there is hope for me to be saved. Especially when I'm caved in, suffocating from the ashes of the graved men. I know my blood shed is my shield so I refuse to die in-vain when it's my time to go."

An older man's breath from behind her hums the expression, "Pst" forcing Mrs. P to turn around. "I'm sorry ma'am but your name wasn't on the sign in sheet and there is a line waiting to use the computers." Blinking her eyes back to reality, Mrs. P apologizes and saves her work. Leaving the library, she looks back in gratitude then continues on her way. 

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