14 May 2014

Music may increase left brain activity

Improved blood flow to left side of the brain can be observed after just a half hour of musical training.


Musical training may increase blood flow to the left side of the brain, new research suggests.

The increase in blood flow was seen with just a half hour of music training, according to the study.

"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 left hemisphere of the brain," study author Amy Spray, with the University of Liverpool, explained in a university news release.

Read: Music underlies language acquisition

"It was fascinating to see that the similarities in blood flow signatures could be brought about after just half an hour of simple musical training," said Spray, who conducted the research as part of a summer internship programme.

Blood flow patterns

Spray and her colleagues studied brain activity in people who took part in music and word generation tasks and who listened to music. Blood flow patterns were the same in each task for musicians.

But, those patterns were different in non-musicians – at least until they took part in brief musical training. Following the training, the blood flow patterns in the non-musicians changed to be similar to musicians in both musical and word generation tasks, according to the study.

The findings were presented recently at the British Psychological Society Annual conference. In general, research presented at meetings is considered preliminary and should be interpreted with caution until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Read more:
Music-based training a boost for seniors
Early musical training benefits the brain later in life

Learning music boosts motor skills

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