For years, nurses and other health care professionals have known that music has positive effects on the brain. Indeed, the complexities of music are thought to stimulate a variety of brain functions. Music has been known to improve both physical and mental health. Many health care professionals are advocates of music therapy, as it often can increase recovery time and overall outcome.
Here we have provided links to 17 studies that are focused around music, the brain, and your health. All of the abstracts, and several full articles, to these studies are free through the links below. Before you pay for an entire article, document the article title and author and contact your school to find the complete study for free.
Music and the Brain
Music interacts with your brain in an extremely unique way. While we are still conducting studies as to why music is can be advantageous to our health, we do know that it can garner positive outcomes such as increased healthy brain develop in children and reduced memory loss in older adults. Below are several studies about how music affects the brain.
- Music, the brain and Ravel: This study looks at how the functional cerebral structures in the brain react with music. Specifically, how music affects the brain of someone who has significant brain damage. As brain imaging techniques advance, we are better able to see what areas of an injured brain react when we are interacting with music.
- Analysis of music-brain interaction with simultaneous measurement of regional cerebral blood flow and electroencephalogram beta rhythm in human subjects: This study examines how music can actually affect blood flow in human brains. Here is an interesting look at the way blood moves through the brain system in response to music and musical rhythms.
- Emotional responses to pleasant and unpleasant music correlate with activity in paralimbic brain regions: Your emotional responses can be determined by music. This is known by being able to view which regions of the brain show activity when listening to the music. Shows results of brain scans taken while subjects were listening to music.
- Language, music, syntax and the brain: A look at how music affects the language centers in the brain, and how music can help the brain organize information. This article examines the specific point at which syntactic processing between music and language converges. They also illustrate how language and music are connected in the brain, and the development of those two functions.
- Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain implicated in reward and emotion: A look at how listening to music connects with reward centers in the brain by exploring the mechanics involved in listening to pleasurable music. Check out this article to see how you can receive pleasure signals in the brain from listening to music, and how it could affect your desire to listen to more music.
- Brain Organization for Music Processing: In this study they examine how the brain is organized to process music, and how it impacts memory, perception, performance, and emotion. This is an interesting look at music’s influence on a number of brain processes.
- Music and emotion: perceptual determinants, immediacy, and isolation after brain damage: This study expands upon previous research to illustrate the brain’s ability to assign an emotion to music even after the brain has received substantial damage. They also compare the differences in processing music between healthy-brain participants and participants who have brain injuries.
- Music, Mind, and Brain: The Neuropsychology of Music: This article addresses how the mind processes and responds to music. Here they have provided an interesting look at music’s effect on neuropsychology.
- Music Lessons Enhance IQ: An interesting study that measured the IQ of students before and after music lessons, and compared them to a control group. The study found that IQ increased after music lessons, which shows how music can aid in child development.
- Working Memory in Music: A Theoretical Model: Explores the idea that music can help improve memory due to its ability to activate both the long-term and short-term memory stores of your brain. Music’s affect on our working memory imply that memory loss may be decreased through playing an instrument.
Music and Health
Music therapy can be beneficial by reducing stress and improving your overall well-being. Music can actually help regulate physical functions in your body, such as heart rate, movement, and breathing. Read these studies about how music can impact your health.
- Music and Health: This study looks at the link between music and health, and how health can be impacted positively by music. It considers the idea that music can be used to enhance health.
- Reducing noise pollution in the hospital setting by establishing a department of sound: A survey of recent research on the effects of noise and music in health care: An interesting look at how the right sounds in a hospital can aid in healing. Looks at music therapy, and how music can help cancel out unhealthy noise pollution.
- Active Music Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: An Integrative Method for Motor and Emotional Rehabilitation: This three-month study combined music therapy and physical therapy with the hope of improving the overall quality of life of the 32 participants with Parkinson’s Disease. By the end of the study all of the participants showed marked improvement in physical, emotional, and behavioral functions.
- Music Listening as a Nursing Intervention: A Symphony of Practice: This study considers the healthful effects that background music can have when it comes to relieving stress. The right kind of music in the background can lead to less anxiety, helping manage heart rhythms, respiration and pacing.
- Stress reduction through music in patients undergoing cerebral angiography: Shows how the stress of patients about to undergo brain surgery can be relieved to a certain degree, which helps to improve the outcome of the surgery.
- Effects of relaxation and music on postoperative pain: a review: Examines the pain response of those who have undergone operations, and provides an interesting look at how patients who listen to music have less pain, and respond better. This article illustrates how music can help improve postoperative health.
- A Prospective Study of Exposure to Rap Music Videos and African American Female Adolescents’ Health: Music is not always beneficial. While this study admits that there is not enough substantial evidence to prove a direct causation between rap music and unhealthy behavior of its listeners, they did note that over a year’s time there was enough of a correlation to prove their original theory. This is an interesting look at how some kinds of music and some messages can result in less than desired health outcomes.