Monday, October 7, 2013

Playing music = better brains

That’s my takeaway from an article by Janice Neumann which appeared in the Wednesday, October 2nd edition of the Chicago Tribune:,0,5831505
Her article starts rather boldly, I thought, for a summary of a proper scientific article saying, “Playing a musical instrument can have extraordinary cognitive and motor benefits, possibly opening the door to improved reading and language ability, according to a recent Northwestern University study.” (i.e. from the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern)

“Extraordinary cognitive and motor benefits”? “Possible opening the door to improved reading and language ability”? What happened to all the posturing, e.g. “this is only one study,” and other caveats that usually positions an article like this?

The article says reports that “Nina Kraus, who co-wrote the study with postdoctoral fellow Adam Tierney, said past research showed a link between reading and rhythmic abilities but focused more on the motor skills than auditory skills involved. Kraus said the current study shows there is a link between how consistently the nervous system responds to sound and rhythmic skill.”

Interested? Here’s a link to a presentation by Kraus:

And for those of you who've played a lot of music, here’s a link to the dense scientific tome published in The Journal of Neuroscience:

Image credit: <a href=''>fberti / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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