Ever wonder why you want to listen to particular music when you’re in a particular mood? Classical or jazz when you’re feeling relaxed, dance or anything with a fast beat when you’re exercising.
There is research that has been conducted and is continually being done just to explain this link. The field is called, and fittingly so, the cognitive neuroscience of music which is the study of brain-based mechanisms involved in the cognitive processes.
Emotions induced by music activate different portions of your brain when compared to emotions elicited by other stimuli. One study found that when different types of music where played to elicit different types of emotions that the area in the brain responsible for those emotions were traced in EEG (electroencephalograph – a recording of electrical activity) activity
Music, and in particular, background music, can influence learning, working memory, memory recall, performance while working on the tests and attention to cognitive tests.
The Mozart effect occurs when performing certain cognitive tasks that require spatial manipulations improves after listening to sonatas by Mozart.
Working memory suffers in the presence of either vocal music or irrelevant speech, whereas listening to instrumental music leads to better performance.
On reading comprehension tests people scored better when everything was silent, whereas math performance increased with vocal music, and with logical tests (ie, understanding flow charts) it didn’t matter if vocal or instrumental or silence occurred. Music appears to only improve performance when the music does not directly interfere with the task at hand (e.g. lyrical music interferes with verbal processing).
So, when studying, reading a book, or wanting to feel a particular way, why not use music to help you out.
Music Fun Fact – Did you know the term ear worm refers to when a piece of music that sticks in one’s mind so that one seems to hear it, even when it is not being played.