Music May Actually Make You Smarter, According to Research

Music May Actually Make You Smarter, According to Research
Good news, music nerds. Despite what your mother might have warned you, all those hours that you've logged listening to your turntable/tape deck/iPod weren't a waste of time after all. According to a recent study, listening to music (as well as playing it) actually helps to make you smarter.

A new report on AlterNet brings together various sources and examines the ways in which music helps to stimulate brain activity. Thanks to technology like PET scans and MRI imaging, scientists are learning more about the effects that music has on our brains, discovering that all parts of the brain are activated by music. Listening to music is not a "left-brain" or "right-brain" activity -- it's both.

Even better, music reportedly helps listeners to forge new neural pathways, which connect distinct areas of the brain. These neural pathways can be used for activities other than music, meaning that you will actually be smarter after listening to music, according to the research.

British neurologist Oliver Sacks is an adamant supporter of music's positive effects on the brain. Go to PBS's website and check out the show The Music Instinct, which has videos of Sacks explaining some of the ways that music stimulates listeners. According to this clip, music is particularly beneficial when the listener experiences chills -- which was the focus of another recent music study.

If you were planning to beg your parents to buy you some of the items on our list of Christmas gifts, just show them this article and you will be well on your way to an extra-merry Christmas.

Thanks to The Daily Swarm for the heads-up.