Music Learning Can Change Brain Structures
Utilizing musical cues to study a physical task drastically develops a foremost part of the brain, according to a new study.
Men and women who practiced a basic movement task to music showed greater structural connectivity between the regions of the brain that process sound and manipulate motion.
The findings are centered on white matter pathways — the wiring that makes it possible for brain cells to communicate with each other.
The study could have positive implications for future research into rehabilitation for sufferers who have lost some degree of movement control.
About 30 right handed subjects were divided into two groups and charged with learning a new activity involving sequences of finger movements with the non-dominant, left hand. One group learned the undertaking with musical cues, the other group without music.
Effect of Music on brain structures
After four weeks, the groups performed well at studying the sequences, researchers at the University of Edinburgh discovered.
Making use of MRI scans, it was found that the music group showed a massive increase in structural connectivity within the white matter tract that links auditory and motor regions on the right aspect of the brain. The non-music group showed no change.
Researchers hope that future research with better numbers of participants will examine whether or not music can support with certain forms of motor rehabilitation programmes, like post-stroke.
The results are published in the journal Brain & Cognition.
According to the research author, Dr Katie Overy, “The study suggests that music makes a key difference. We have long known that music encourages people to move. This study provides the first experimental evidence that adding musical cues to learning new motor task can lead to changes in white matter structure in the brain.”