Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Music helps you focus on your own thoughts, but only if you like it

That is the title of this article I am writing about. “When we listen to music we enjoy, it makes us feel different. Truly beloved songs inspire a different state of mind than the average pretty background noise.  A study published Thursday in Scientific Reports pinpoints the changes in neurological activity behind that experience. In a small study (with 21 young adults, total), participants with different genre preferences were exposed to entire songs while in an MRI. They were exposed to a like genre, a disliked genre, and their self-reported favorite song.  They were looking for changes in brain activity that related to preference for the music being listened to, as opposed to changes that might occur based on differences in the musicality or lyrics of the tune.”  That is great that they are looking at this.  Music I believe helps people in many ways.
It continues to say: “If your favorite artist is Beyonce, her dance anthems probably make you feel as focused as a classical music lover listening to Beethoven – and that’s pretty crazy.  The researchers wanted to understand how people could have the same feeling associated with their favorite music (greater self-reflection and inward thought) regardless of genre.  When listening to a preferred genre or a favorite song, the participants had greater connectivity between regions of the brain called the default mode network (DMN).”  I know when I am angry all I have to do is put on music that I like and even if I do not like it calms me down.  I listen to music on my headphones on the way to work and when I leave work.  It makes things a lot better for me.
The article goes on to say: “The DMN is associated with that switch we can flip between inner and outer thought.  When the DMN is active, you’re not focused on what’s happening in the physical world around you – you’re using internal stimuli, like memories and your imagination.  Of course, you probably already knew that your favorite music could make you zone out.  The study authors hope that these findings will encourage innovative music therapy in individuals who have conditions associated with poor DMN activity and connectivity, like autism and schizophrenia.”  I never did listen to music when I was in psychosis.  Although when I was in the State Hospital the first thing I asked for was a stereo.  I did listen to it when I was sick in the state hospital and the delusions were still there when I had my second breakdown in the hospital.  Although I still wanted to listen to my tapes, also when I have a problem I listen to music it helps a lot.

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