The notion that musical training can have positive effects on cognitive functions other than music has long been a source of interest. Research first emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. Standardised assessments of IQ and musical ability suggested the two were correlated – and it was thought that participation in musical training could improve IQ.
Recently, research has shifted focus from effects on musical training on global intelligence and instead focuses on benefits to specific skills and tasks in individuals.
I did learn an instrument, but in recent years I found myself wishing it had been the piano. My music theory is terrible though…
Something that wasn’t mentioned in the article was the reality that access to music training generally brings up economic status. How much is really from music training vs what other things that wouldn’t exist for those in poverty?
Jargon aphasia is a strange syndrome which cause people to suddenly say nonsense words while otherwise speaking normally. Often they won’t even know that they did it. And scientists are not entirely sure what that means.
Jargon aphasia arises from brain damage, either from traumatic injury or some kind of degenerative syndrome. It involves substituting in words that don’t make sense while conducting a normal conversation — words that may start with the same sound, like substituting “detective” for “debt,” or sometimes words that are related to each other, like substituting “bird,” for “egg.” Occasionally it involves substituting total nonsense words for regular words. This much most scientists all agree on.
On the left side of your brain there’s a special region called Broca’s Area, also known as the speech center of the brain. Now a group of neuroscientists have discovered something strange about it. Even though this brain region supposedly controls speech, it shuts down when you are speaking.
A paper out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tells an interesting story about this widely-studied part of the brain. New York University neuroscience researcher Adeen Flinker and his colleagues wanted to find out more about the region, so they used a special device to record people’s brain activity directly from their cerebral cortex while they were speaking. What they found was very surprising. They expected to see Broca’s Area crackling with electrical activity from neurons while the test subjects talked. But instead, the region seemed to shut down.