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I would argue that its impossible to detect someone who isnt put forward by a particular ballad or piece of music. Like storytelling, constructing musicis a universal human trait, shared across all cultures for many thousands of years. It has a unique consequence on the brain, inducing powerful emotional replies. A new survey in PLOS ONE confirming that music, if we make it our profession, actually rewires the circuitry of our brains.

Music, indubitably, is a very primal sort of communication that activates specificcentersof our brain: those most associated with reward, planning, motivating and emotion. It is known that learning how to play a musical instrument can alter the brain: a study in 2009 demonstrated that prolonged practice increased the size of the centers of the brain responsible for hearing and dexterity. Musician are also known for being more proficient at identifying pitch, and they are better than most at picking out speech from substantially loud background noise. Somewhat remarkably, they even have an enhanced they are able to detect emotional cues in conversations.

Previous research indicates that the tissue that connects the left and right hemispheres of our brains is larger in musicians. Could it be possible that music has the power, hence, to improve the communication between the two hemispheres?

To see if musicians genuinely did have an improved hemispheric connectionover non-musicians, a new survey spearheaded by researchers at the University of Jyvskyl in Finland used fMRI scanners to look at the brains of two groups of people: the members of the first were all professional, practising musicians with degrees in music; the second were people who had have never professionally played a musical instrument.

Once insidein the fMRI scanners, the subjects were subjected to three very different pieces of music: classical Stravinsky, Argentinian tangoand progressive rock. The researchers were looking for flares in neurological activity in both hemispheres of the brain; as suspected, the patterns of activity in the musicians left and right hemispheres was far more symmetrical than that of non-musicians.

The group of musicians included keyboard players, cellists, violinists, bassoonists and trombone players. Intriguingly, the most symmetrical neurologicaldisplay of such studies was observed in the brains of the keyboard players. The researchers suggest that the kinematic symmetry the symmetry of a musicians physical motions as they play their instrument of option is directly linked to the level of neurological symmetry they have. Keyboard players have a more mirrored employ of both hands and thumbs when playing, Iballa Burunat, the lead author of such studies, told New Scientist; hence, they are more likely to have synaptic symmetry than those playing stringed instruments.

As this study merely tested the effect thatlistening to music , not actually playing it, had on the brain, these resultssuggestthat practising musicians genuinely have a rewired brain, one that communicates more effectively than most even after theyve put down their instruments.

[ H/ T: New Scientist]

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