Musical training increases blood flow in the brain

May 7, 2014
brain
White matter fiber architecture of the brain. Credit: Human Connectome Project.

Research by the University of Liverpool has found that brief musical training can increase the blood flow in the left hemisphere of our brain. This suggests that the areas responsible for music and language share common brain pathways.

Researchers from the University's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society carried out two separate studies which looked at brain activity patterns in musicians and non-musicians.

The first study looking for patterns of brain activity of 14 musicians and 9 non-musicians whilst they participated in music and word generation tasks. The results showed that patterns in the musician's brains were similar in both tasks but this was not the case for the non-musicians.

In the second study, brain activity patterns were measured in a different group of non-musical participants who took part in a word generation task and a music perception task.

The measurements were also taken again following half an hour's musical training. The measurements of taken before the musical training* showed no significant pattern of correlation. However, following the training significant similarities were found.

Amy Spray, who conducted the research as part of a School of Psychology Summer Internship Scheme, said: "The areas of our brain that process music and language are thought to be shared and previous research has suggested that musical training can lead to the increased use of the of the brain.

This study looked into the modulatory effects that musical training could have on the use of the different sides of the brain when performing music and language tasks."

Amy added: "It was fascinating to see that the similarities in signatures could be brought about after just half an hour of simple musical training."

Liverpool Psychologist, Dr Georg Mayer , explained: "This suggests that the correlated brain patterns were the result of using areas thought to be involved in language processing. Therefore we can assume that results in a rapid change in the cognitive mechansims utilised for music perception and these shared mechanisms are usually employed for ."

Explore further: Study of jazz players shows common brain circuitry processes music and language

More information: Paper: 'The effects of musical training on cerebral lateralization patterns- a functional transcranial Doppler ultrasonography study.'

Related Stories

Musical training shapes brain anatomy and affects function

November 12, 2013

New findings show that extensive musical training affects the structure and function of different brain regions, how those regions communicate during the creation of music, and how the brain interprets and integrates sensory ...

Picking up mistakes

September 30, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Musicians have sharper minds are able to pick up mistakes and fix them quicker than the rest of us, according to new research.

Early music lessons boost brain development, researchers find

February 12, 2013

If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. Those lessons you dreaded – or loved – helped develop your brain. The younger you started music lessons, ...

Recommended for you

Autism-linked protein crucial for feeling pain

December 1, 2016

Sensory problems are common to autism spectrum disorders. Some individuals with autism may injure themselves repetitively—for example, pulling their hair or banging their heads—because they're less sensitive to pain than ...

Study provides neuronal mechanism for the benefits of fasting

December 1, 2016

A study from the Buck Institute offers for the first time an explanation for the benefits of fasting at the neuronal level, providing a possible mechanism for how fasting can afford health benefits. Publishing on December ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.