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Our Brain on Music: We need to do more than listen

.What’s The Size Of The Mozart Effect? The Jury Is In.

In a now well-known 1993 paper in Nature called “Music and spa­tial task per­for­mance”, Frances H. Rausch­er and her col­leagues report that par­tic­i­pants who were exposed to the first move­ment “alle­gro con spir­i­to” of the Mozart Sonata KV 448 for Two Pianos in D major scored sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er on stan­dard­ized tests of abstract/spatial rea­son­ing abil­i­ty than those who were instruct­ed to relax or those who just sat there in silence.

Even though the par­tic­i­pants in Rausch­er et al.‘s study were col­lege stu­dents, and they didn’t admin­is­ter a full bat­tery of cog­ni­tive tests to prop­er­ly assess gen­er­al intel­li­gence, their find­ings trans­lat­ed into “play Mozart to your chil­dren and they will grow up smart.” A cot­tage indus­try was born. Read the rest of this entry »

Musical training as mental exercise for cognitive performance

We often hear (glad­ly!) how teach­ers use our blog arti­cles and brain teasers in their class­es. We also hear how many psy­chol­o­gy and biol­o­gy teach­ers are get­ting their stu­dents excit­ed about brain research, and, to con­tribute to their efforts, we like to rec­og­nize some great ini­tia­tives.

Last year, Jef­frey Gonce, a Psy­chol­o­gy teacher at Red Land High School (West Shore School Dis­trict, PA) asked his stu­dents to “com­plete a project describ­ing a recent brain (or genet­ic) study that affects behav­ior.” The stu­dents could opt to post their arti­cles online, and Jef­frey was kind enough to send us a link to read the results. We enjoyed read­ing them all, and pub­lished in our blog this beau­ti­ful essay, titled “Tis bet­ter to give than receive”, writ­ten by Alexan­dra, which Piano musical training was sub­se­quent­ly includ­ed in a num­ber of neu­ro­science an psy­chol­o­gy blogs.

This year, Jef­frey also sent us his stu­dents’ essays, and we are going to rec­og­nize and pub­lish this great essay by high school stu­dent Megan. Enjoy!
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It has long been the source of sci­en­tif­ic debate as to whether music can improve the cog­ni­tive process­es in chil­dren. Referred to by some as “The Mozart Effect,” a strong Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness and other blog carnivals

(Blog car­ni­vals are col­lec­tions of blog arti­cles around spe­cif­ic top­ics)

Jane hosts a great edi­tion of the Brain Fit­ness blog car­ni­val, titled Mind, Mat­ter, Mind Over Mat­ter with great arti­cles on nap­ping, exer­cise, mul­ti-task­ing, and more.

Two oth­er car­ni­vals we enjoyed much were: Tan­gled Bank and Entre­pre­neurs. Read the rest of this entry »

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