Listening to Mozart probably won’t make you smarter but music can positively influence your brain in other ways. If you listen to soothing music, for example, studies show that the body’s stress levels drop due to a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. And listening to upbeat music can increase the number of antibodies in your system which are crucial to identifying and eliminating harmful bacteria and viruses. Listening to cheerful music can distract you enough to take away your anxiety and help you perform better.
What’s the Big Idea?
Music is increasingly used as a therapy to treat brain injuries such as those sustained by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The idea is that because music is represented by different areas of the brain, it can access deeper neural pathways. “Music then helps patients connect the stored knowledge of words through songs and helps create the new connections needed for speech. This same idea has been used for stroke victims in the past.” Music’s connection to the hippocampus may also implicate Alzheimer’s patients.