It’s pretty well known thatmusichas a measurable effect on ourmood and our perception of the world. You can probably easily recall a time when a particularly sad song made you melancholy, or, conversely, an upbeat track that made you want to smile and dance.
Turns out it’s not only our emotions that can benefit from a dose of good music. Our cognitive abilities can also be affected by listening to specific musical scores. Research by Northumbria University in UK had people performing a test that measured mental concentration. Participants had to watch for a green square to pop up on a computer screen, and press space as it did so, while ignoring other colors and shapes.
Some participants did so in silence; others listened to different movements from Vivaldi’sThe Four Seasonsconcerti. The more upbeat “Spring” concerto resulted in thebest average response timeof 393.8 milliseconds; the slow “Autumn” one increased people’s reaction time to 413.3 milliseconds, as compared to the 408.1 milliseconds for those who listened to no music at all.
Another study showed that music can help peoplerecall autobiographical memoriesfollowing an “acquired brain injury.” So it seems that carefully chosen music can play a pivotal role in boosting people’s cognitive abilities, attention, and memory.